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God Loves You

July 11, 2020 Leave a comment

God is LoveThe words, “I don’t love you,” have to be the most hurtful words ever spoken. As human beings, we are born with the desire to be loved. Whether it’s romantic love, family love, brotherly love or even self love, God gave us the desire to be loved and to love God, others, and ourselves.

Love comes from God. “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.” (1 John 4:7).

Because human love is so flawed by sin, none of us can ever love ourselves or another human being perfectly. In the same way, until we receive our glorified, perfected bodies, we can’t love God perfectly.

God has no such hindrances. He loves perfectly. On three different occasions, the prophet Daniel was told by the angel Gabriel that he was greatly loved by God. “I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved.” (Daniel 9:23). The same thought is expressed in Daniel 10: 11 and Daniel 10:19.

How sweet those words must have sounded to Daniel! How would you like to hear those words for yourself? Well, you can.

Paul says in Ephesians 2:4-5:God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses,made us alive together with Christ.”

God’s love is on display for us in Romans 5:8.But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Like Daniel, God sent word to us that we are greatly love. He sent  His Word in the form of His Son who demonstrated how much he really loved us by paying the penalty for our sins by His death on the cross

Accept His love. Bask in His Love. Know His love for all eternity.

Four Things I Pray

June 3, 2020 1 comment

PrayerSometimes, I get so caught up in praying for the needs of others, I fail to pray for myself.

I was reminded of this during my quiet time, when I got to I Chronicles in my daily Bible reading.

In the margin of my Bible, I saw a previous note I’d written when I’d read the passage before—I’ve been reading the O.T. once a year and the N.T. twice a year for many years now—and I realized I’d gotten away from praying these four things for myself.

I pray the Lord will  Bless, Prosper, Guide, and Protect me.

Bless Me—spiritually, physically, and mentally.

Prosper Me—spiritually, personally, and financially.

Guide Me—spiritually, intellectually, and creatively

Protect Me—spiritually, physically, intellectually, and financially.

The common thread is that I’m always praying for myself spiritually. If the Lord will bless, prosper, guide, and protect me spiritually, everything else will fall into place.

The Biblical basis for my prayer is found in I Chronicles 4:10: ” . . . Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm . . .”

We Keep Waiting

April 22, 2020 Leave a comment

Wait Room 5Are you tired of waiting? I know I  am.

During this Covid-19 pandemic, it feels like the whole world is in a waiting room. I’m sure you’ve been stuck in a waiting room before, so you know that feeling of helplessness that comes over you after you been there an hour—or two.

While I’ve been waiting to be released from our city’s quarantine restrictions, I’ve found myself thinking about all the times I’ve been in God’s Waiting Room.

God’s Waiting Room is a place familiar to all praying believers. Those who petition the Father for answers, for relief, for deliverance, for guidance, for comfort, often find such requests are not answered immediately. That’s why God designed His Waiting Room.

If the waiting goes on for months, even years, God’s Waiting Room can become a place of discontentment, anger, frustration, and unbelief.

It’s happened to me. Don’t let it happen to you.

Through the years, I’ve learned waiting on God doesn’t have to be unbearable, not as long as I follow some basic principles.

1. Don’t wait alone. Waiting is always easier if the wait is shared, even if it’s virtual sharing.

2. Find something to do while waiting. Occupying body, mind, and spirit makes the wait easier.

3. Encourage others as you wait. Empathy for others who may be going through similar circumstances lightens your burden and blesses your  soul.

4. Recognize God has a sovereign purpose in the length of your wait. Waiting is no different from anything else in your life—God is working all things for His Glory and your benefit no matter what it is.

Those willing to wait on God are given a special promise. It’s found in Isaiah 64:4: “No eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him.”

While you’re in God’s Waiting Room, He’s out there working for you.

Keep on waiting.

Ring a Prayer Bell

March 5, 2020 Leave a comment

Bell2I can’t remember where I got this little “angel bell.” It was given to me years ago. Other than a decorative item on a bookshelf, it isn’t much use to me, except when someone around our house gets sick. Then, I put it beside their bed, and when they need something, they ring it.

My mother, who was in a wheelchair during the last years of her life, had to use the bell a lot more than most family members did.

Whenever she rang it, she would apologize. “It’s nice to have an angel when I need help,” she’d say, “but I hate to be a bother.”

One day, when my grandson stayed with me when he was sick, I put it beside his bed.

He didn’t use it the way my mother did.

He rang it just to see if I could hear him ringing it. He rang it to ask for a drink, a cracker, or a bowl of ice cream. He rang it to call attention to something on television. He rang it because he was bored. He rang it to tell me he was happy to be at my house. He rang it to tell me he was glad he didn’t have to go to school.

God also has a bell. He calls it prayer. Whenever I ring His angel bell, He’s immediately at my side.

Sometimes, I think I’m using it too often, and  I need to apologize. “I’m sorry I have to ask for this again. I’m sorry I can’t  remember what you told me. I’m sorry I have to keep asking forgiveness for this sin.”

However, at other times,  I act just like my grandson. I ring it often, and sometimes, I’m asking for things I don’t even need.

But, according to Scripture, God doesn’t mind when He hears the angel bell ringing. He’s delighted His children want to spend time with Him, even if it’s just to ask Him for something. He’s happy His children believe He’s the answer to everything that matters.

God is overjoyed to hear that prayer bell ringing! Start ringing!

Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

How Can I Believe in God?

February 9, 2020 Leave a comment

Believe 1I’ve never had a problem believing in God. It’s as natural to me as breathing.

That doesn’t mean I’ve ever seen God, or had an angelic visitation, or received some special sign from Him. I’ve never seen any writing on the wall or heard an audible voice, or had some tangible proof He’s real.

My belief in God comes from trust.  I trust what the Bible tells me about God. Ironically, the faith to believe in Him, to trust what the Scriptures tell me about Him, is a gift from God.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Believing in God is not something I can do for myself. The ability to believe in God comes from God.

Any person who sincerely wants to know God will find Him. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13.

I believe in God because He created the desire for me to believe in Him; He provided the means for me to believe in Him, and He made the provision for me to believe in Him.

And, He didn’t just do it for me; He did it for you as well.

John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

 

I Wear A Dusty Crown

January 25, 2020 Leave a comment

789crown

I love the way David describes how God treats His children in Psalm 103. David says He satisfies your desires with good things.”(Psalm 103:5).

Later on in this Psalm, David writes, “He remembers we are but dust.” He writes this in connection with the compassion of God.  “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers we are but dust.” (Psalm 103:13-14).

God created human beings out of a common substance, a substance of little worth, just a handful of dirt. Inside this dirt-formed vessel, He placed an image of Himself. When a handful of dirt became a man, something of little value became something of infinite value—a living human being. Every human being born after Adam reflects this God-likeness.

Even though we bear His likeness, we’re still just dirt. He remembers this. He knows our frailties and all our weaknesses. He knows our dirt. He has compassion on our dirt. The Psalmist says, “He crowns you with love and compassion.” (Psalm 103:4).

Even though we’re made of dirt, we have a regal bearing. As God’s children, we wear the crown of His compassion and love.

Perhaps this is why David begins and ends this Psalm with these words. “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.” (Psalm 103:22).

Read a Personal Story

January 4, 2020 Leave a comment

bible-879070__180What’s the right way to read the Bible this year? You’ll find the answer in the Bible!

David, speaking in Psalm 16:11, says, “You make known to ME the paths of life.” David has a personal relationship with God. While it’s true the Bible has a message for all people, God intends for that message to be understood and received by each individual personally

I read through the Bible every year, and I’ve used a variety of Bible Reading Plans to do this, but no matter which method I use, I try to  make it personal by making notes in the margins.

You can easily make the Scriptures personal by asking this one question at the end of your Bible reading:

What message does God want me to take away from this passage? 

For a great selection of various Bible Reading Plans, click here.

What Love Is This?

December 17, 2019 Leave a comment

manger

God’s love for you can never be restrained.

It bursts forth in smiles
from a cattle stall.

It shouts out in praise
from a heavenly host.

It cries out in anguish
from an old rugged cross.

Just A Little Nudge

November 7, 2019 2 comments

Sometimes, all it takes is a nudge. I’m especially susceptible to nudges. I probably wouldn’t have started writing my Titus Ray Thrillers, if someone hadn’t casually mentioned to me I should try writing a spy novel. Every day I enjoy a few minutes of mind-stimulating fun playing a word game on my iPad called Word with Friends, but if a very good friend hadn’t given me a little push to put the app on my iPhone, I wouldn’t have done so.

And, sometimes, a little nudge may be all a person needs to come to Christ, or to renew their commitment to Him, or to read their Bible or to . . .

Last week, I heard about a style of evangelism that’s become popular after a book was written about it five years ago. The book is called Nudge by Leonard Sweet. In it, Sweet says that “sharing the gospel should be a matter of awakening each other to the God who’s already there.”

Sweet writes, “Nudge evangelism is based on a simple premise: in everyone you meet, leave an impression–a Jesus impression, a Jesus dent. The nudge can be as simple as a smile, as profound as a prayer, as complex as a meal, as subtle as a story, as venturous as a witness, as ambitious as an altar call.”

To nudge someone toward Christ is vastly different from shoving them toward Christ. The gospels give a clear picture of how Jesus offered Himself to unbelievers. “Come unto me,” He said. If someone rejected the offer, Jesus was saddened by such a response, but He didn’t call them out, pronounce curses on them, or show animosity of any kind toward them. And yet, more than any other being in existence, He would have been justified in doing so.

Nudging people toward Christ can happen all the time in hundreds of different ways, and the form it takes is totally dependent on a person’s personality type. Extroverts will be more aggressive in calling attention to how Jesus is working in their lives but the quiet, thoughtful attitude of an introvert can be equally as effective.

As long as I keep one thing in mind, it’s easy for me to practice this kind of nudge evangelism. I remind myself that every person I encounter in my life—from grocery clerk to business man, from stranger to friend—is someone God has placed there, is someone God has prepared for me to nudge toward Him, is someone He loves.

Give someone a little nudge toward Jesus today. It may be all they need to discover the hidden treasure of Christ Himself.

1 Peter 2: 15-16 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.”

And Now For Something Useless

September 26, 2019 2 comments

USELESSI was standing beside an elevator, having just pushed the Arrow Down button to call the elevator up to the second floor, when an elderly gentleman walked over and pushed the same button again. Then, he turned to me and said, “I know that was useless. The elevator won’t get here any sooner just because two people push it.”

At the grocery store, a little later that day, I tried to sign my name on a credit card scanner. After several attempts to make a semi-legible mark, the clerk waved her hand at me and said, “Oh, honey, forget it. Your signature won’t mean anything on there. That thing is useless.”

My day of useless things ended when I got home and tried to balance my checkbook. No, it wasn’t balancing the checkbook that proved useless. What was useless was pushing the “C” repeatedly on the calculator, clearing out the old amount before adding a new one. Like the gentleman at the elevator, I suddenly realized pressing the “C” a second time was an exercise in futility. The screen always went blank the first time I pushed it.

There’s a fourth useless thing we may be guilty of as well. It’s forgetting to worship our Creator. God reminds us of this in Isaiah 45:7 when He says, “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.”

Failure to acknowledge the God of the Universe, He who created light and darkness, who directs every aspect of our lives, is useless. In the same chapter in Isaiah, God says,” By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return:‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.” (Isaiah 45:23).