“If you do not think about the future, you cannot have one.”………John Galsworthy
Have you ever made any New Year’s resolutions? If you have, how did you do? Are you making any New Year’s resolutions this year? I read this message on a church sign recently, “May your troubles last as long as your resolutions.”
Some people laugh at New Year’s resolutions, but it really would be to our benefit to take some time to allow God to reveal to us areas in our life where there is room for improvement.
Jesus said, “Watch and pray lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak,” (Matthew 26:41). The only way we can live better lives and experience victory over sin and Satan is to yield our mind and spirit to God’s Holy Spirit and let Him live through us. He then becomes our strength, our helper, our wisdom and our source. You will never be able to keep your New Year’s resolutions or make any improvement in your life on your own. It’s only when we fully surrender our will and spirit to the Holy Spirit will we experience a positive change. God is your biggest cheer leader. He wants you to succeed. He wants you to have an excellent future, but it is your decision to yield to Him.
May you experience and know the blessings of God in 2018.
December 19, 2018
“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people,” (Luke 18:10).
Though the birth of Christ was surrounded with circumstances of poverty and meanness, it was also marked with dignity far surpassing the pomp of kings. Why? Angels were the ones who announced Christ’s birth.
They said, “the birth of Christ would cause great joy for all people.” The Greek word for joy in this verse is chara, which means, “a calm delight.”
In the midst of many unknowns and many unanswered questions, Mary experienced joy even though she had many reasons to be upset and worry. She rejoiced because she knew that God was with her. The shepherds also found joy in the birth of Christ. “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen.” The angels also found joy. “A great company of heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.”
What about you? Are you troubled and worried about the “unknowns” in your life today? Or, are you experiencing the joy of Christmas, chara, a calm delight? “His name shall be called, Immanuel, which means, ‘God is with us.’” God is with you and with me today. His presence surrounds us.
Look for Him! You will find Him! You also then will experience joy (chara) a calm delight!
December 4, 2017
Some people are, by nature, optimistic. It is their natural temperament. Others are, by the same token, pessimistic. One person sees a rose bush in terms of thorns, another sees only the roses. One person sees the dark side of every cloud, while the other looks for the silver lining. Yet, genuine hope can never be based on your particular temperament or momentary emotion.
In I Peter 3:15 we read, “Sanctify the Lord God in your heart, and always be ready to give an answer to those who ask you a reason for the hope that is in you.”
The Greek word for hope is elpis which means, “to anticipate with confidence.” Hope is not a feeling. Christian hope grows through faith in Jesus Christ. Christian hope is having confidence in God and His Word. This hope is an “anchor of the soul,” (Hebrews 6:19). Hope is an extension of faith. Faith deals with details, hope deals with the “big picture.” Hope is content to leave the large scope with the Lord.
In Romans 4:18 we read, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations. He did not waver through unbelief regarding the promises of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God.” Due to his age, Abraham couldn’t understand how his wife would be able to conceive a child. But he believed God and was hopeful.
Knowing and believing God’s Word and His promises will cause us to be hopeful people. As we allow Christ to live through us during this busy time of the year, we all will have many opportunities to share Jesus with others. Be a hopeful person and be prepared to share Christ with others today. They will thank you and you will be blessed.
November 29, 2017
Monday, November 27, was the first day of antlered deer season in Pennsylvania. Nearly one million hunters across the state will be in the woods searching for their deer. Many of these hunters will be successful because they did their homework. These successful hunters probably were in the woods weeks before the season scouting and searching for signs of deer. They probably will enter the woods well before sunrise to position themselves in their “hot spot.” They certainly were well prepared for deer hunting season.
The Bible speaks a little about hunting. “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart,” (Jeremiah 29:13). In other words, if we’re serious about having a relationship with Him we will search for Him and then find Him.
The Bible states that God is really not far from any of us. Look all around you and you will see the many blessings He has given to you. Look all around you and you’ll see God’s majesty and power. Look all around you and you’ll certainly see His love for you. I pray that you realize His presence in your life today.
November 20, 2017
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of our lips that openly profess His name.”
Has it ever occurred to you that no Americans were more underprivileged than that small handful from the Mayflower who started the custom of setting aside a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God? They had no home and no government agency to help them build homes. They had no means of transportation, other than their legs. Their only food came from the sea and the forest, and they had to get that themselves. They had no money and no place to spend it if they had any. And they had no amusements except what they made for themselves.
However, God richly blessed them because of their faithfulness to Him. It often takes faith to express an attitude of thanksgiving. Jesus once took five loaves of bread and just two small fish, lifted them up to God and gave thanks for that small lunch and then miraculously fed over 5,000 people with it (John 6:11).
Before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He prayed, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me,”
(John 11:41). God the Father honored that prayer and Lazarus was raised from the dead.
In spite of some great trials and difficulties many of us are experiencing this week, we still have many reasons to express gratitude to God. God will honor and bless your spirit of thankfulness.
It’s not what we say about our blessings but how we use them that is the true measure of our thanksgiving.
May we also continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise.
November 13, 2017
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path,” (Proverbs 3:5,6)
If I were to ask you individually, most of you would say without hesitation that you trust God. However, if you were honest, you will have to admit that there are times when trusting is not so simple. Sometimes, life gets very difficult, with no end in sight. Many times we cannot see what lies ahead and feel helpless and alone in our struggles. However, God is reminding us today that even when we don’t understand, when the future seems very uncertain, and you may feel like you cannot go on, trust Him anyway.
- Trust Him When the Way Seems Difficult
“Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble,” (Job 14:1). Job certainly had his share of life’s difficulties, yet he remained faithful to
God, and God restored back to Job double what he had lost.
- Trust His When the Way is Long and Tiresome
“And let us no grow weary while doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not lose heart,” (Galatians 6:9). Sometimes it does seem like
we’re going to faint but, “Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary?”
Keep trusting in Him!
- Trust Him When the Way Is Lonely
As we travel through life, sometimes it does seem to us like no one cares, no one is there, and no one understands. David once said, “Look on my right hand and see, for there is no one who acknowledges me; refuge has failed me, no one cares for my soul,” (Psalm 142:4). But we all know that God never left David. God restored David’s soul and relationship.
And God is reminding us today that He’ll do the same for us. So, don’t give up! Don’t focus on the storm. Focus on the one who can calm the storm.
Trust God today!
November 6, 2017
Did you remember to turn your clocks back one hour last Saturday night, or did you realize you forgot to when you awoke Sunday morning? We’re back on Eastern Standard Time. The days are getting shorter. Winter is not too far away.
We sometimes say, “Time flies,” but a wise person observed that “time stays and we fly.”
When I was very young I was told that time seems to go by more quickly the older you get. I’ve found that statement to be very true. Each day I’m reminded of just how short our lives on earth are. This truth motivates me to really trust God with my time and my life.
How have you been spending your time recently? A better question would be, “How have you been investing your time recently?” Could it be that someone you know would benefit by you spending a little of your time with them? Could it be that God wants you to invest some of your time with someone today?
This day is a gift from God. May we all strive to make the best of it and invest our time wisely. Time is the deposit each one has in the bank of God and no one knows the balance. “Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is,” (Psalm 39:4).
October 30, 2017
“And there is a time to be silent and there is a time to speak,” (Ecclesiastes 3:7b).
The tongue – what a powerful organ. Without the tongue, no mother could sing her baby to sleep. No teacher could stretch the mind of students. No attorney could defend the truth in court. No Pastor could comfort a troubled soul. Our entire world would be reduced to unintelligible grunts. Seldom do we pause to realize just how valuable this strange muscle in our mouths really is.
But the tongue is as volatile as it is vital. “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell,” (James 3:6).
Did you ever open your mouth when you should have kept it shut, hmmmmmmm? Did you ever keep your mouth shut when you should have opened it, hmmmmmmmmmmmm?
I want to share with you three Biblical truths concerning the tongue.
- The tongue contains an awesome power for good or evil.
- No person can control his/her tongue by their own power.
- We must submit our tongue to the power of the Holy Spirit.
May our prayer be, “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.”
Jesus said, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. Everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” (Matthew 12:34-37)
“Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips,” (Psalm 141:3)
October 20, 2017
“But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” (Jonah 1:3a)
Did you ever feel like just “running away?” Did you ever feel like giving up on life? I’m sure we all have had that feeling at one time or another. Sometimes we just want to run away from it all.
In the Old Testament we read of a man named “Jonah” who “ran away.” He was running from the will of God for his life. Often times the reason for our unhappiness is that we somehow got of the will of God. Jonah said, “I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction. I remembered the Lord and my prayer went up to You, into Your holy temple.”
At times we need to be reminded of how much God loves us. He wants to bless us, have fellowship with us and He wants to use us to advance His Kingdom. Sometimes advancing His Kingdom requires us to go places that we don’t that we’d rather not go and talk to people that we’d rather not talk to. So, when you feel like giving up or quitting on God, do what Jonah did – Cry out to God!
I guarantee you that God will strengthen you and also give you the wisdom and the courage to accomplish the task He has for you to do.
Trust Him today!
October 17, 2017
“Your outcome in life doesn’t depend upon your income, but on how you overcome.”…..Miguel de Unamuno
There has been and always will be a constant battle or struggle between good and evil, between the works of the flesh and the Spirit of God. Even the Apostle Paul talked about his struggles in the seventh chapter of Romans.
“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice, but what I hate, that I do.” (Romans 7:14,15)
He then continues to talk about his “struggles” and finally concludes, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”
In other words, Paul did not and could not experience victory in his life as long as he relied on his own strength and will power. Only when he completely yielded his life to the Spirit of God did he experience victory over sin and self.
How about you? Are you experiencing victory in your daily walk with God? Have you been relying too much on your own strength and power? Have you completely surrendered your will and life to the Spirit of God? That is a personal choice and daily decision we all must make. Rely on self, or rely on the Spirit of God? What will you do?