Friday, May 29, 2009

Proverbs 24:15-16 (The Message)
Don't interfere with good people's lives; don't try to get the best of them.No matter how many times you trip them up, God-loyal people don't stay down long;Soon they're up on their feet, while the wicked end up flat on their faces.
It is always too soon to quit. In the words of Winston Churchill speaking at Harrow School, "Never Give Up". The difference between victory and defeat is getting back up one more time.
In the words of George Eliot, "It's never too late to be what you might have been."
I suppose by this point you get the picture. It's all about perseverance. How many people have been on the edge of greatness and gave up. There are so many illustrations of this in the Bible. You might want to share your favorite story with me, and I can use them for next weeks devotions.
One of my favorites was Joshua. He was one of the 12 original spies who went into Canaan. Only he and Caleb came back and said that the children of Israel should cross over into Canaan and take the land from the people who were living there. The other 10 spies gave a negative report and the people listened to them. Because of that Joshua had to go back out into the wilderness and wonder around for a total of 40 years but, he never gave up. The book of Joshua is all about never giving up. Joshua came back and crossed into Canaan 38 years after that first visit and after 7 more years he conquered the land. We all face challenges everyday and, sometimes we are tempted to give up. I want to encourage you no matter what it is you are facing this week God is able to see you through it.... Never Ever Give Up.
Watch this amazing video of Derek Redmond running in the Olympics and pulling his hamstring. His father came down out of the stands and helped his son to finish the race. Our heavenly will pull along beside us and help us to finish our race.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lessons From a Lion

Joshua 1:6-9 (New American Standard Bible)
6"Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.
7"Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.
8"This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.
9"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
Do you remember the cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz? He was so afraid of everything. Even in his fear though he found the strength to go with his friends and rescue Dorothy from the Wicked Witch. In the beginning of the book of Joshua God tells him three times, in today's passage, to be strong and courageous. He was about to embark on a 7 year war to conquer Canaan. Most of the time he was strong but in Joshua 7 we find that he loses his courage after a small defeat at Ai. God had to remind him once again to be strong. Each day we face battles of all kinds and we too need to be reminded that God is with us and we have nothing to fear. Ask God today for courage and He will not fail you. Know where you help comes from, because it comes from the Lord.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Faith Zone Living

Psalm 37:23-24 (New International Version)
23 If the LORD delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm;
24 though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

Many people choose to live their lives in the "Safe Zone" rather than the "Faith Zone." There are many examples of people in the Bible who did both.
David and Goliath is a good example of this principle. The children of Israel were scared to death of Goliath. They were operating in the Safe Zone. David stepped out on faith and we know the rest of that story.
There is also the example of the story of Simon Peter walking on the water. The Disciples were operating in the Safe Zone. Simon Peter stepped out on faith and actually walked on water for a brief time until fear set in.
One word of caution here about these two zones. It is very important that you hear the voice of God before you step into the Faith Zone. We must be moved by Faith and not Foolishness. Prayer and discernment are necessary to know when to step out and when to wait upon the Lord. But, if you hear God's voice then by all means step out or you will have missed a great experience and possibly God's plan for your life.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Forgive Me as I Forgive Others

Luke 6:37 (New Living Translation)
Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.
Don't read the title of this devotion too fast. Go back and read it again. Forgive me as I forgive others. This implies that if I do not forgive others I will not be forgiven. The verse above from Luke does more than imply, it says clearly....If I do not forgive I will not be forgiven. So, the only way you can have an unforgiving spirit is to be perfect and since the Bible says no one is perfect then no one can afford an unforgiving spirit. Notice it does not say it is OK to hold a grudge if the person did you wrong. No many of us have been treated poorly at different times. What about Jesus on the cross, what did He do wrong, and yet, one of His last prayers was for forgiveness for those who were crucifying Him. I am not saying you have to be best friends with the person. I am saying whatever it is we are harboring it hurts us much worse than them. Let it go. Forgive them and move on. Your load will be lighter and your day will be brighter,trust me on this. Click on the Link Below. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wondering Why Your Wandering

I decided to run this devotion one more day. I think it is a message that we need to share with people . Please forward it to your friends. I will write a new devotion for Friday morning. Thanks for your patience. I just felt strongly there was someone else who needed this particular devotion. If that person is you please write and let me know

Joshua 3:5 (New American Standard Bible)
Then Joshua said to the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you."

Our Church is now studying the Book of Joshua. It is an amazing Book with many spiritual and practical applications for our lives today. The Book of Joshua deals with the children of Israel crossing the Jordan River and conquering the Promised land. That conquest took seven long years to accomplish. In this passage Joshua tells the people to Consecrate themselves. What does that mean? Well, it means they must Sanctify, Purify, Separate, Dedicate, themselves to the task at hand. This was not the first time Joshua had been this close to Canaan. As a matter of fact he was one of two people that now stood on the banks of the Jordan who had actually been into Canaan for 40 days, 38 years previous to that time. You can read the story in Numbers 13. The people 38 years ago were not Dedicated, Sanctified, Purified, Focused people of faith, and because of that they wandered all their life until they died in the wilderness. How many people today are just like that. Instead of being moved by faith they are paralyzed by fear. What is it that God has called you to do? If you know step out boldly and give it your all otherwise you may find yourself living and dying in the wilderness of Wondering. Wondering what it would have been like to step out and boldly follow God's plan for your life. Your choice, choose wisely.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Live the Good Life

Philippians 4:11-12 (New International Version)
11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Carol and I thought we would include a picture of our summer home in Newport....just kidding. So, what does it mean to live the
"Good Life"? I suppose it means different things to different people. What does it mean to you? Many would say it involves money but we all know people who have money and yet are not happy or content. I don't think it involves possessions, position, or even popularity. I think it goes much deeper than that. Real contentment does not seem to depend on what we have or do not have. In the end I believe the Good Life is a life well lived. Know God and follow His leadership for your life. Choose a good attitude each day, make a positive difference in the lives of others, and take time to enjoy God's creation. Avoid materialism and the love of money. Steer clear of negative people. Do something fun each day with people you love. Read a good book, go see movie, plan a trip. Bessie Anderson Stanley said, "He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much." It is never too late to become who you were meant to be.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Be the Best

Colossians 3:23 (New International Version)
23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,
Statistics say that most people do not enjoy their work. Many go to work each day and because they do not enjoy what they do they have a bad attitude. Bad attitudes are not hard to detect and often hold us back from advancing in our jobs. Each of us has a calling and we should pray that God will help us find work that will utilize our God given talents and gifts. Many college students choose their career by salary potential and that is a mistake. Money alone will not make us happy and content.
Confucius said: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
But one of my favorite quotes on the subject comes from Martin Luther King Jr.
"If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well."
Do what you do today as if you were doing it for God. Seek His will and desire for your life. Choose your attitude and make sure you choose a good one.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Resist Temptation

1 Corinthians 10:13 (New International Version)
13No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
Each day temptations come our way. Some are not too harmful and others have the ability to destroy your life if you give in. In this picture I am sure this dog is tempted to jump on the skunk but he is resisting the temptation to do so. If you are dieting and see a piece of cake that looks delicious you must remind yourself what passes the lips goes to the hips. Sometimes we are tempted to gossip. To spread some story we don't even know is true and even if it were there is really no good reason to share it if it will harm others. Satan knows where our weaknesses are and for each of us they are different. The progression to sin is often a slow process of thinking about the sin until we yield to it. Listen to this insightful song today about how we slowly fade into doing something we know we should not. resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

One Small Step....One Giant Change

Psalm 37:23 (New American Standard Bible)
The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Many times people want to make big changes in their lives but don't realize that they are the result of small steps. For example...a person decides they want better health so they buy books on being healthy, join a gym, watch the health channel. They find themselves so overwhelmed they never do anything and feel as though they have failed. Maybe they just needed to walk out their front door and walk around the block, every day. Then increase the distance.They could practice what I have names the E-Diet 1. Eat Less,
2. Eat Smart and, 3. Exercise. Loosing weight can be summed up in 4 words.........
EAT LESS, EXERCISE MORE. A novel is written one page at a time but, we must make a start somewhere. Make a small change today and then ask God to help you stick to it and before you know it Big things will be happening in your life. Its really up to you. This formula pertains to everything not just loosing weight. Begin a daily devotional, attend a new class, learn a new skill, make a new friend. One small step could lead to a very BIG change.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Now is the Time

Philippians 4:8 (New International Version)
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Our thoughts can lift us up or drag us down. Some people dwell on negative things all the time and they become negative people. They have the ability to find something bad in every good day. Our minds and hearts should dwell on good things. Think about God's blessings, friends, accomplishments, dreams, hopes, visions. We can help ourselves to change our minds and therefore change our attitude and outlook. Try this, don't watch any news for the next 30 days. You will amazed at how much your attitude and mindset improve. About 95% of the news these days is negative. Continually pound your brain with that everyday and it has to bring you down. Don't worry if anything really big happens someone will tell you. The news right now is like watching a soap opera. You can not watch it for 30 days and when you tune back in all the same stuff is still going on. One more bit of advice, stay away from negative people. Find some positive friends to hang out with. Laugh a little more, no laugh a lot more. Break out of the rut. try a new restaurant, go to a movie, a happy movie. If you live near the beach like we do go down and walk along the water and pray as you do thanking God for all His blessings. try it what have you got to lose.
Romans 12:2 (New International Version)
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Be Thankful

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (New King James Version)
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Each day there are so many things to be thankful for. It is easy in the busy hustle and bustle of life to overlook so many of God's blessings. For example....did you ever take the time to think what goes in to just pouring yourself a glass of orange juice. Someone had to plant and take care of the tree. Then, someone had to pick it, put in in a crate,on a truck, drive it to the factory where they make they juice. Then many people were involved in the production and others were making the carton they would put it in. Then people had to make the truck to transport it, the roads for it to travel on, the gas to keep the truck going. The building where the food store is located. Then, there are the employee's that work in the store. Someone made the glass you drink it from, the refrigerator you keep it in. You get the idea simple things we overlook each day. So many of God's blessings go unappreciated. Stop and take a moment for all God does for us each day and give thanks.

Monday, May 11, 2009

It is Always Nice to Share

2 Corinthians 9:8 (New Living Translation)
8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
God encourages us to share and give to others. When we think about giving we usually think about money but, there are so many ways we can give. We can give of our time, or talent. We can also give encouragement. A kind word can be shared each day with people . You can compliment someone on their clothes or hair or what a good job they did recently. Tell a neighbor how nice their yard looks or how well behaved their children are. This takes little time and no money but makes such a big difference in peoples lives. So, why don't you try it today. Find 5 ways to give and share with others before this day is through. I dare you 5 ways. See if you can do it before lunch. What a difference it would make in your life and the lives of others.
Proverbs 11:24 (The Message)
24 The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.
Watch this video and listen to the lyrics and then go out and Be His hands and feet today

Friday, May 8, 2009

Get up and Try Again

Psalm 19:12-13 (New Living Translation)
12 How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. 13 Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.
When children are learning to walk there are bound to be some falls and tumbles. Some of those result in little scars we carry with us the rest of our lives. But, they are all a part of learning to walk. As we make mistakes as adults sometimes we try to cover them up or live in denial. The Bible says it is best to confess our mistakes, ask for forgiveness and move on. We should not waste time in self-justification. We should admit our mistakes and sins and then ask God to help us learn from them and then.......Get up and try again.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cleaning Up the Clutter

1 Corinthians 14:33 (New American Standard Bible)
for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
Our lives are cluttered with so many things and many of them are not necessary at all. Sometimes I feel like a hamster on one of those wheels, I run and run and run and when I am finished I am right where I was when I started. Look at the man in this picture, he feels like that. Where do I begin to clean up all this mess and clutter after the storm? Well, you begin by picking up one piece like he is doing and moving it. So today there are some practical things you can do. Clean out one drawer, one closet. one corner of the garage. Complete one project, make a simple list of three things you would like to accomplish by the end of the day and then do them, even if you don't feel like it. Go out to eat tonight at your favorite restaurant, you know the one you save for special occasions. Why, because today is a special occasion, each day is that we are alive and able to get out is special. Don't just spin your wheels today go somewhere do something call someone and tell them how important they are to you. That will make your day and theirs better. God is not the God of confusion but of peace. Pray right now that you will experience that peace in your life today. Listen to the song and the act.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Focus on God and not the Giants

Matthew 19:26 (New Living Translation)
26 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”
Do you remember the story of David and Goliath? Everyone was focused on how big the Giant was in comparison to them but, David saw how small the giant was in comparison to God. Where is our focus? What are you facing today? What Giants are you dealing with? Whatever they are remember that nothing is impossible with God. Pray and ask God to help you today as you confront the Giants. I promise you that God will help you.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Timing is Everything

Romans 8:25 (English Standard Version)
25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
When I was growing up my father was in the Air Force. One of the perks was that we got to see a lot of air shows. I used to love them. My favorite part was the precision flying of the Navy's Blue Angels or the Air Force Thunderbirds. They would streak across the airfield very low and fast separated sometimes by only two feet of air. To say that timing is everything to these guys was a life and death statement. In life each day the statement is still very true. We may not be flying high speed aircraft but we are trying to maneuver our plans and God's timing everyday. We pray for certain things to happen and sometimes they do and other times not. Sometimes the things we pray or work for come later than we expected. I believe God has perfect timing and to try and manipulate that would be like one of those pilots just deciding to turn a second too soon. It would spell disaster. So if you are waiting for an answer to a prayer concerning a job, relationship, important decision just know God is aware and he will direct your path with His wisdom and perfect timing. Would you want it any other way?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Is Your Dream Too Small?

Isaiah 55:9
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Is your dream too small? I suppose that depends on how big your God is.
A big God inspires a bigger vision of what life can be. The God I serve created the Universe and nothing is impossible for Him. He lives within me and you, if you have accepted Him and invited Him into your life. Think about what you love to do and what you would like to see happen in your life. Write down your goals for the next year. It has been said that 3% of the people write down their goals and the other 97% work for them. This is not a prosperity devotion this is a possibility devotion. Joshua and Caleb believed that with God on their side they could conquer Canaan but the people listened to the negative report of the majority and never realized the possibility of living in the promised land. Joshua and Caleb never gave up on their dream and because of that they realized it. What about you? What is your dream? Have you given up on it? Do you believe God can help you achieve it? Think again. We serve a great God whose ways and thoughts are higher than ours. Pray today and ask God to help you to accomplish His plans in your life no matter how big or challenging they may be.
Oswald Chambers said...
Never make the blunder of trying to forecast the way God is going to answer your prayers.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Never Give Up

Ecclesiastes 10:10 (New Living Translation)
10 Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.

Even as Christians sometimes we begin to lose our edge. The world works on us each day and we must remain sharp. There are four things we can do to make sure we maintain that sharp edge.
1. Bible Study: Study God's Word each day for inspiration and wisdom
2. Prayer: We must constantly pray. Even Jesus made it a regular part of His daily routine, shouldn't we?
3. Fellowship: Surround yourself with good Christian people who have a living relationship with the Lord. People who have a positive outlook because they are not focused on the Problem but on the Provider.
4. Witnessing: We need to share our faith each day. This is what Christ has called us to do.

So if you feel you have lost the edge use these four tools to sharpen it, and Never Give Up.

Remember the wise words of William Arthur Ward:

Plan Purposefully,
Prepare Prayerfully,
Proceed Positively,
Pursue Persistently.