Live With Purpose

It doesn’t matter where you work.  If you work at McDonald’s, Star Bucks, U.S. Motors (Nidec), or the Forest Service.  You are there for a reason and you should look forward to getting up in the morning and going to work because we don’t really work for these companies I just mentioned.  They may sign our paychecks (do they do that anymore?)  They send our pay electronically into our bank accounts.  But we work for Jesus Christ.  And I am talking to myself here.  There is someone at your work that you need to talk to, or witness to.  There is a reason you are there.  You may hate it there but stop running from it.  I don’t believe in coincidence or luck.  God placed you there.  Get up in the morning with purpose and attack the day and see who you can impact, who can you witness to? Who needs to hear your testimony today?  Is there someone that is hurting at work?  Have they let you in? 

Yes, there are people that I just don’t get along with at work.  But is God testing me and you?  I’m reading this book called The Bait of Satan, John Bevere, 2014 and here are some excerpts from it:

“Holy Spirit, enable me to live in Your power so that when God, my Father, is testing my heart that seeks after His heart and not the insecurity of a man [or woman] who seeks to take matters into their own hands.”

 Or this excerpt, “Test my heart with obedience, Lord.  I am committed to seeking only Your judgment and mercy, not my own.”

 Or what about this one?  “Make me like a Samuel who refuses to judge others but chooses to serve them instead.”  Do you know how hard that is?  But we are supposed to be Christians and we are supposed to have Jesus Christ inside of us. 

“Holy Spirit, empower me to serve Your appointed leaders and not to judge or correct them.  It is not my word of correction that is needed; it is Yours.”

Is this striking a chord with you?  Because it is with me.  I really must look at myself in the mirror now.  But wait there is more: “Father according to Your Word, You have set me in the body just as You please.  I am in the place where You want me, and I will not allow the devil to uproot me through the trap of offence.”  In other words, if someone offended you. 

“Father allow me to become a mature tree in whom you delight rather than one that is uprooted for its lack of fruit.” (Luke 13:6 – 9) 

Every time you take control of the wheel of life and you move from one job to the other or from one church to another.  You could be messing up a plan that God has for you.  Let God drive the car!      

Every single one of us has purpose in life.  There is a reason we work at the job we work at.  Every person in your life is in your life for a reason.  The people in your family are there because God put you and them there.  There is a reason for every person you work with. 

Before we run from one job to another or one church to another, be in prayerful support if you should leave that job or that church and listen to the Holy Spirit before making rash decisions.  Yes, I am talking to me.  And finally, “My delight is in the law of the Lord.  I will mediate upon Your Word day and night” (Ps. 1:1-2).  If you are praying if you should leave a job, or church and it feels like God is not answering you, then perhaps his answer is No.  Be in prayerful support for all important decisions. 

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed writing it.  I love you.  God Bless. 

Fish/Jesus Sign Fell Off (Ichthys)

On the way to work today, I got behind a car.  It was an older Honda that had the fish/Jesus sign (Ichthys, Greek word for fish) removed, or maybe it fell off.  It was an older car.  I couldn’t help but think that since it was an older car that either the sign that portrays the sign of Jesus being a fisherman either fell off or perhaps it was sold to someone that didn’t have a relationship with Jesus and didn’t believe in Jesus and took it off.  Either way, a non-believer or the Jesus/fish sign falling off breaks my heart. 

It made me sad.  I wanted to talk to the person driving the car and ask them what happened to their sign, did they still believe in Jesus.  Did they ever believe in Jesus?  Is there any thing I could do to help them restore their relationship with Jesus?  

 All I can do is pray that they will put their Fish/Jesus sign back on their car and display their belief in our Savior Jesus Christ proudly. 

Denying Yourself

It’s difficult to deny yourself.  I’m currently trying to watch what I consume.  I haven’t been drinking Pepsi, or Dr. Thunder (off brand of Dr. Pepper) or any sodas for that matter.  I’ve also cut back on the un-healthy snacks I eat.  I do have a sweet tooth.  I find myself craving a Pepsi in the morning, or a candy bar in the afternoon.  They are at my convenience at work, no-one would even know.  But I’m trying to stay strong and fight the Snicker’s urge, or the urge to eat a Reece’s peanut butter cup or two.  They do come in a package of two.  The point is, it is difficult to fight the urge to eat or drink unhealthy.  One every once in a while, won’t hurt, but once you start with one, then you want two Pepsi’s and that leads to three a day.  I find it’s best to just quit cold turkey like I did with alcohol.  I used to enjoy German beer.  I lived in Germany for 22 years in the military and as a civilian.  But I felt like the Lord wanted me to stop drinking so I did, and it’s been a smooth transition to sobriety.  All things are possible through the Lord. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  (Philippians 4:13 KJV 2022)

Have you ever fasted?  Did you know that we as Christians are supposed to fast?  The Bible says when you fast, Matthew 6:16 says “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;

18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2022)

When we fast implies that we are supposed to fast.  I fasted a few times, and it is very difficult.  The Bible says to keep it secret and keep it between yourself and the Lord.  I was fasting for a very important decision and it worked out according to God’s will.

I go home for lunch or bring my lunch with me to work to save money.  Oftentimes we have leftovers at home, or I make a sandwich.  But there is a restaurant right across the street that I enjoy going to.  Do you know how tempting it is to just get something from there?  Update: I just got off the phone with my wife and I asked if she wanted to have lunch at that restaurant across the street and she said to go home and have a sandwich, so it looks like I am denying myself again.  It really is hard to deny yourself.  But like I stated earlier all things are possible through Christ.

If we want to be disciples of Jesus Christ sometimes, we must deny ourselves of our human and fleshly wants. “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2022). Have you denied yourself before and did God bless you?      

Where Did All The People Go?

Imagine you wake up one day and one third of all the people you know are gone.  They disappeared into thin air, off the face of the earth.  It’s as if they were abducted by aliens. 

You go to your neighbor’s house and they don’t answer the door.  Their dogs are barking.  Their cats need in.    

You call your Aunt, and she doesn’t answer the phone and she always answers the phone.

You send a message to a friend on Facebook, no reply.

You send another friend a text and they don’t get back to you and they always do. 

The person that watches your children is missing.  You are forced to take them to work with you.

On your way to work you notice cars on the side of the road abandoned.  You go to work and half of the people you work with are missing.  They didn’t show up to work.  And they are very punctual.  Their always on time!

You turn on the news and the news is talking about some alien abduction, because that is what they are going to say.  The news is claiming that millions of people are gone (abducted).

You go to have your car repaired during your lunch break and his shop is closed.  The person that repairs your car is missing. 

You have an appointment to get your hair done, not today they are gone.

Your favorite bank tellers are gone. 

You want to order pizza and your favorite pizza place is closed because so many people didn’t show up to work.

I could go on and on forever, but you get the picture.  And there is way more than just these examples that will be impacted, according to Mary Fairchild (April 16, 2020) there are 2.5 billion Christians in the world.  If that number is accurate and they do believe in the birth, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and they have repented of their sins, then around 2.5 billion people “shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2022)

1 Thessalonians 14 “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (Bible Gateway KJV 2022)

What happened to all these people?  Where did they all go? 

Susie, Jennifer, Rob and Dave all tried to talk to you about Jesus, but you brushed them off.  Saying “I don’t have time for that kind of talk”.  

You dismissed them as Bible-beaters or do-gooders.  Maybe you even thought they were naïve to believe a book written over 2000 years ago with crazy stories in it like Adam and Eve, Noah and the Ark, Jesus walking on the water and turning the water into wine.  And Jesus healing people and throwing out demons. 

When Jesus returns will you be caught up in the air?   In a twinkling of an eye…

1 Corinthians 52 “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2022)

Will you be asking yourself, Where Did All The People Go?   

The Woman That Fears The Lord

It’s hard to be married to someone as nice as my wife.  Don’t get me wrong, she is amazing!  She is everything I am not.  I’m nice too, but I can’t compare to my wife.  She is so selfless.  She puts everyone before herself.

I love to help people too, most of the time.  My wife will stop what she is doing, all the time, and make it her number one priority to put your needs before hers. 

And I am learning from her to put myself last, but it’s a hard trait to learn.  The Lord blessed my wife with a huge, selfless heart.

My wife is teaching me that it’s ok, if people take advantage of you, so what if you are taken advantage of.  We are here to serve God and serve one another.

She is storing up treasures in Heaven.   Yes, there will be treasures in Heaven waiting on us because of our good works here on Earth.  No, our good works won’t get us into Heaven.  Having faith in Jesus Christ and repenting of our sins get us in Heaven, but good works equals treasures in Heaven.

See these scriptures about good works and storing up treasures:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19 – 21 ESV)

“Sell your possessions and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:33 – 34 ESV)

“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:17 – 19 ESV)

See these scriptures about eternal life:

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

“For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:40 ESV)

And finally The Woman That Fears the Lord:

 “An excellent wife who can find?  She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household
    and portions for her maidens.  16 She considers a field and buys it;
    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.17 She dresses herself[b] with strength
    and makes her arms strong.18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
    Her lamp does not go out at night. 19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
    and her hands hold the spindle.20 She opens her hand to the poor
    and reaches out her hands to the needy.” (Proverbs 31:10: 20 ESV)

So, the next time someone you know wants to help someone, even if you think they are being taken advantage of or you think it’s too much, let them help, help them help.  We can’t out give the Lord.  It’s never too much.  They are storing up treasures in Heaven, where treasures really matter, not here on earth, where things rot and decay and can be stolen by others and we can’t even take them with us when we are called to Heaven.  The treasures that really matter are in Heaven.   

We Have More in Common Than We Think (Devotion)

In today’s world, in today’s society the world wants to separate us.  We separate our laundry not people.  We have all these different ethnic groups.  We are put into categories.  We have whites or Caucasians, blacks, African Americans, Indians or Native Americans.  And I am certainly not trying to offend anyone.  We have democrats vs. republicans, conservatives vs. liberals.   We have all these different labels.   And most recently we have vaccinated vs. unvaccinated.  The world, the Devil wants us to hate each other because we are different.  But God…But God is Love and light and GOD wants us to Love one another.   

And I would argue that instead of being different, we have more in common than what we think.  And I am going to prove that in the time I have allotted with you today, but first let’s pray.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father in Heaven please help me with this message that I am delivering today.  Be with this crumbling world that we live in.  The world wants us to hate each other Dear God, but You want us to love one another.  Help me to show that we have more in common that not.  Be with the so-called leaders of this country and the world and put them on their knees.  I ask that would pray to you asking for your guidance on important decisions they make that affect us all.  Please comfort and heal the people on our prayer chain and I’m sure there all others that have unspoken prayers as well.  Bless this time we have together today, in Jesus name I pray Amen.

Like I said, our nation is divided. The whole world is divided.  We are put in categories.  But I am going to do my best to prove that we have more in common than not.   

Q, have you ever cut yourself, or given blood or had you finger pricked?  Yes, what color is your blood?  Red. 

Manuela you were born in a different country.  You were born in Germany.  Have you ever cut yourself, have you ever given blood, have you had your finger pricked?  What color is your blood?  Red. 

Brother Eddie, you’re from a different state.  You’re from Louisiana.  Half the time I can’t even understand what you’re talking about.  Have you ever given blood, pricked your finger or cut yourself?   What color is your blood?  Red, let the record show that all three stated they have red blood.   

We have something else in common.  We were all created by God in our mother’s womb. 

We have even more than that in common.  We are all going to die.  We are either going to stop breathing or our hearts are going to stop beating, unless of course Jesus comes to gather the church first. 

Let’s go to 1 Thessalonians 4: 14 “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

When I was 14 my mom passed away, but while she was still here, she told me that Jesus was coming back in my lifetime.  I’m not calling my mom a prophet.  I’m not sure what lead her to tell me that, maybe the Holy Spirit wanted her to tell me that.  You can take that with a grain of salt.  But it sure wouldn’t surprise me if Jesus did return soon. 

Anyway, let’s review, we have more in common than we think.  We all have red blood flowing through our arteries and veins. 

We were all born the same way, created by God in our mothers’ wombs.  We were all born the same way…without any clothes.  And we are going to die the same way or be gathered up to meet Jesus.

I would argue we even have more in common if we would just take the time to talk to one another and get to know each other.

Q:  Do you like to watch football?  What is your favorite team?  Me too 

Manuela:  I love being married to you and I would bet you feel the same way.

Bruce: Do you like to go camping?  Me too

Eddie: Do you love to come worship God with your church family?  Me too. 

See, we have a lot in common!  Don’t let the world divide us into groups of people.  We are one group made by our Heavenly Father.  Let’s spend the time we have left wisely, praising God, and doing God’s will, loving each other shining the light of Jesus Christ around the world, trying to expand the Kingdom of our Father.

Thank you!  

Well Done My Faithful Servant

Are we doing enough on this earth with the life that God gave us?  Are we doing enough with the talents that God blessed us with?  Are we doing enough with the money or mina that God allows us to have?  Will we be disappointed that we could have done more, or will God say “Well done my faithful servant?  What we do with our lives are up to us.  We can fully submit our lives to God and ask for his guidance on every aspect of our lives or we can live according to our selfish desires.    

In Luke 19:12-27 Jesus gives a parable, The parable of the mina’s 

12 “He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.

13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.

14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.

15 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.

16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.

17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.

18 And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.

19 And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.

20 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:

21 For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.

22 And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:

23 Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?

24 And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.

25 (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)

26 For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.

27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.” (Bible Gateway, KJV 2021)

Let’s look at the Amplified version below:

11 “”While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they assumed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately [as soon as He reached the city]. 12 So He said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to obtain for himself a kingdom, and [then] to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants, and gave them ten minas [one apiece, each equal to about a hundred days’ wages] and said to them, ‘Do business [with this] until I return.’ 14 But his citizens [the residents of his new kingdom] hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to be a king over us.’ 15 When he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these servants, to whom he had given the money, be called to him, that he might find out what business they had done. 16 The first one came before him and said, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten more minas.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you proved yourself faithful and trustworthy in a very little thing, you shall [now] have authority over ten cities [in my kingdom].’ 18 The second one came and said, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ 19 And he said to him also, ‘And you shall take charge over five cities.’ 20 Then another came and said, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I have kept laid up in a handkerchief [for safekeeping]. 21 I was [always] afraid of you, because you are a stern man; you pick up what you did not lay down and you reap what you did not sow.’ 22 He said to the servant, ‘I will judge and condemn you by your own words, you worthless servant! Did you [really] know that I was a stern man, picking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Then why did you not [at the very least] put my money in a bank? Then on my return, I would have collected it with interest.’ 24 Then he said to the bystanders, ‘Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ 25 And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas already!’ 26 [Jesus explained,] ‘I tell you that to everyone who has [because he valued his gifts from God and has used them wisely], more will be given; but from the one who does not have [because he disregarded his gifts from God], even what he has will be taken away.’ 27 [The king ended by saying,] ‘But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them, bring them here and kill them in my presence.’” (Bible Gateway Amplified Bible 2021)

Let’s take a closer look at this part:

“‘I tell you that to everyone who has [because he valued his gifts from God and has used them wisely], more will be given; but from the one who does not have [because he disregarded his gifts from God], even what he has will be taken away.’” (Bible Gateway Amplified Bible 2021)

We all have gifts that God blessed us with. For instance, I like to write, but I don’t write nearly enough.   I like to give devotions.  It allows me to face my fear of public speaking.  I would love to be able to speak like Dr. Bruce Wilkinson does.  He captivates an audience and grabs their attention.

The Pastor filling in at church asked me “Have you written any new articles lately?” I said “No, I haven’t been inspired” That is a way out.  I should always be inspired.  What’s wrong with me that I am not inspired?  That is the question.  What am I doing with my talent that God gave me?  I need to pray to my heavenly Father to inspire me.  I need to meditate on the word of God and pray how can I serve you, what would you like for me to do for you Dear Heavenly Father.  I should always be inspired for the Lord. 

What is your spiritual gift, what are you doing with it, and will God say Well done my faithful servant?           

The Greatest Gift of All

Do you realize the greatest gift anyone ever gave us was free?  The gifts that mean the most don’t cost anything.  I’m talking about the gift that God gave us, the gift of grace and salvation and his love.  We tend to get caught up in the worldly, materiel aspect of Christmas, going out buying gifts, trying to give the best gift, and outdoing each other.   

The best gift given cost Jesus his life, but it didn’t cost us anything.  The greatest gift of all time is God’s free gift of grace, If we are a Child of God, we believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, walked the earth perfect and sin free, while healing the sick and lame and teaching. Jesus put all our sins on his back when he dragged that cross and was crucified on it and arose three days later making it possible for us sinners to repent of our sins and be forgiven and live eternally in Heaven with him, praising him for eternity, forever. 

The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (King James Version, Bible Gateway 2020)

Ephesians 2:9: “Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (King James Version, Bible Gateway 2020)

Romans 5:21 “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (King James Version, Bible Gateway 2020)

Romans 5:21”so that, as sin reigned in death, so also grace would reign through righteousness which brings eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Amplified Bible, Bible Gateway 2020)

1 Corinthians 15: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” (King James Version Bible Gateway 2020)

1 Corinthians 15: “Now brothers and sisters, let me remind you [once again] of the good news [of salvation] which I preached to you, which you welcomed and accepted and on which you stand [by faith]. By this faith you are saved [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose], if you hold firmly to the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain [just superficially and without complete commitment].

For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold], and that He was buried, and that He was [bodily] raised on the third day according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold].” (Amplified Bible, Bible Gateway 2020)

That is the best gift ever received by mankind and it cost us nothing, however, it did cost Jesus his life. 

This Christmas let’s not forget the true meaning of Christmas, after all you can’t have Christmas without Christ – God Bless you and your family!                

God Places People in our Lives for a Reason Devotion

A few weeks ago, the Lord laid on my heart to give the fourth Sunday church devotion.  I texted my Sunday school teacher and asked who was giving the devotion, he wrote back that his wife was giving it, so I thought it was a done deal until he wrote back saying that she was willing to let me have her spot and she will give her devotion at Youth night, which is in the evening of the same day, anyway this is how the devotion unfolded.

See the notes below for the devotion:     

Prayer – Thank God for the Church and the church visitors and the church members.  Thank him for all my blessings…thank you for sending Jesus, your only Son to die on the Cross for our sins.  Thank you for Brother Dickie (interim Pastor, every two weeks) and family, for sending him to fill in, in our time of need, thank you for using Brother Dickie as a vessel to deliver the message you’ve laid on his heart and may we have an open mind and an open heart to receive that message.  Dear God, send us a pastor, the one you have picked out for us.  Give me the words to say, the message you have laid on my heart.  We love you, in Jesus name we pray, Amen

Good Morning Church family.  It’s an honor to be standing before you today.          

Start out with scripture John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another, as I loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Amplified 34 I am giving you a new commandment, that you [f]love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.”

We have this written on our refrigerator door “Love Like Jesus”

Talk about the church and how we love one another, that we help each other out.  That’s why I love this church.  I wouldn’t want to be a part of any other church. 

Tell the story of Luke and Dee inviting Manuela to church.  My wife helped at Luke and Dee Dee’s farm and they invited her to church and that is how this wonderful relationship with God started or continued for me. 

Tell the story of how we met Miss Lori Goodner.  And that she is at Church and what a blessing it is to have her here and to have her friendship, that God puts people in your lives for a reason.  He used an innocent child to crawl up in her lap and blessed us with her friendship.

Last year when we were registering the girls, Charlotte, 4 and Julie 7, at school.  We were going from one station to the other, signing the kids up for car rider, school bus, lunch meals, etc., etc. and we noticed Charlotte climb up onto someone’s lap.  Embarrassed we apologized, but the lady was not put off by the innocent little one making herself at home in her lap, she said it was fine.  We were able to finish registering the girls and spoke to Mrs. Lori and got to know her, made friends with her on Facebook, making it official, and invited her to church.    

Manuela met Travis at an arrowhead digging school event.  Somehow, we put two and two together and figured out that Travis is Mrs. Lori’s Son. 

We met Neil and Sheila at Jenssen Park at their granddaughter’s birthday party.  Funny story, did you know, Sheila’s maiden name is Taylor, when she married Neil, she didn’t have to change her last name.  We knew Leah Taylor from school which is Neil’s daughter-in-law.  Again, God’s hand in, blessing us with them in our lives. We get to be blessed with specials from Neil and Sheila at church. 

That’s what we are supposed to do, Love one another and invite people to church. 

Second verse: Romans 12:6  

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

Amplified Version: Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to use them accordingly: if [someone has the gift of] prophecy, [let him speak a new message from God to His people] in proportion to the faith possessed; if service, in the act of serving; or he who teaches, in the act of teaching; or he who encourages, in the act of encouragement; he who gives, with generosity; he who leads, [d]with diligence; he who shows mercy [in caring for others], with cheerfulness. Love is to be sincere and active [the real thing—without guile and hypocrisy]. Hate what is evil [detest all ungodliness, do not tolerate wickedness]; hold on tightly to what is good.

God gives everyone a special gift and my wonderful wife has been blessed with the gift of giving.  She has a Big, loving, generous heart filled full of love, and all she wants to do is give, generously, you would much rather give that to receive and I love you for that.  I thank God every single day that he put you in my life.  That’s what God does, he strategically places people in our lives for reasons, like Luke and DeeDee, like Mrs. Lori, and Travis, and Neil and Sheila and the rest of you.      

Close out with a prayer, thank you God for putting all these people in our lives, for  Luke and Dee Dee inviting Manuela to church, thank you for using an innocent child to climb onto Miss Lori’s lap, thank you allowing us to meet Travis and his family and for bringing Neil and Sheila and Leah and her family into our lives. Thank you, God, for all the visitors and the members of this church and that hopefully the visitors will be members someday.  Thank you for all your blessings and forgive me for all the many times I have failed you.  We love you Lord, in Jesus name we pray Amen.          

Sports A False Idol?

Football season started back up last night.  And I couldn’t help but wonder if we idolize sports and the athletes?  I didn’t change my routine last night, my wife and I still read our Bible’s but afterwards instead of turning on a cooking show, our normal routine, I tuned in to the NFL Thursday night opener, pitting the Houston Texans against the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. 

I’m also into fantasy football, I know something else that could potentially take my attention from worshipping God.

I prayed that if I’m not to watch football that God would cancel the season and give me a clear answer.  I certainly don’t want anything to take away from my worship.  I don’t plan on missing church or, neglecting Sunday School preparation, or taking away from our nightly Bible reading because of it. 

One could argue that if you allowed it, anything could take time away from your worship time.  Not to toot my own horn, really, but I quit drinking alcohol about a year and a half ago because I felt like it was hindering my walk with Jesus, and I do feel closer to God as a result of my sobriety.  I’m not saying you can’t enjoy a drink or two and still worship God, but for me, I feel like it was the right choice.     

If you look back in the Bible, it talks about false idols a lot.  Now, I don’t worship football, or sports or athletes, but I also don’t want sports to get in the way of my worship time and putting God first.

 Zechariah 13 says “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth.” (Bible Gateway 2020)

And in Zechariah 10:2

“For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd.” (Bible Gateway 2020)

I’m sure I could write an article about the football players kneeling and social injustice and our feelings about that today, September 11, 2020, the 19th anniversary of the insidious attack on the United States.  I served 22 years in the military and I personally don’t like to see kneeling during the National Anthem.  I say stay in the locker room or kneel the entire game if you want, but not while the flag is on the field and the National Anthem is playing and the airplanes are flying over.  They taught us to stand at attention and salute the flag during the Anthem.  It’s certainly not bringing us closer together and uniting us, it is bringing us further apart and dividing us, but I digress.  I won’t charge you for my two cents, at least I got that out of my system, and I won’t bring it up again, whether you agree or disagree.  It’s not my intent to start a debate, certainly not that type of debate with this article.

However, I did listen to an article with Dak Prescott today, where he was praising God for allowing him to be blessed with the skills to play football and I enjoyed that very much. 

https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/fox-sports-calls-out-skip-bayless-for-insensitive-comments-about-dak-prescott/ar-BB18ULxj?ocid=spartan-ntp-feeds

And the Kansas City Chiefs owner, Clark Hunt, is a devout Christian also and they won the Super Bowl last year, so sports can be a good thing, if we allow it. 

https://www.themix.net/2020/02/clark-hunt-kansas-city-chiefs-owner-christian/#:~:text=Clark%20Hunt%2C%20the%20owner%20of%20the%20Kansas%20City,employees%20to%20develop%20their%20spiritual%20faith%20as%20well.

The point of this article is to not put anything before God, whether it’s football, sports, athletes, alcohol, drugs, our jobs, even our families.  God allows us to have all these things, our careers, our families and our health.

We’ll see if there is a football season or if it is cancelled and I may have just answered my own question with the above links.  It could be all in how we watch or allow ourselves to be entertained, because that is what it is, entertainment.  There are two examples of two Christians associated with football above, God Bless and thanks for taking the time to read my article.