August 15

Conforming is one of the easiest temptation to fall into.  Everybody likes to “fit in”.  No one likes to “stick out” and be different.  But that is what God has called his people to do ever since Abram when God asked him to circumcise everyone in his household.  But idea behind being different is because God has called his people to be holy and our “differences” are a picture of how God is “different” (i.e. separate from nature and not a part of nature: transcendence).  Plus it is how Jesus lived his life.  So remember Romans 12:2 and do not be conformed to the pattern of the world but let God transform you with a new (and different) life.

August 8

Opportunities are all around us.  But too often we only see the obstacle.  We pray and plead for the obstacle to go away or struggle to force our way through it.  But if we use the spiritual eyes of God, we will see that the obstacles are really opportunities.  We only need to ask God to help us see them in this way.

August 1

Usually I get these devotionals out the first of the week, but my week has been thrown into confusion and if you check deeper, this post was not made until Thursday.  I have been finding myself in several DIY projects that suddenly needed done.  Our washer sprung a leak that took longer to fix then I care to admit.  (Still waiting on parts after finding something else wrong)  The ice maker at church quit (repairman called and fixed), a toilet at church also needed a new float valve installed.  My icemaker/crusher in my fridge went on the fritz.  A blind at my parents house needed replaced.  Much of my time on all these projects was spent looking for the right parts on line (and at the lowest price with the speediest delivery).  On top of that school is starting next week and so all the signups, orientations, checkups, etc. has interfered with my schedule while my wife and I scramble to get everything done in time.  So here in the devotion this week.  In your business, do not forget God.  Take time to spend with him on a daily basis.  Then your days will go smoother (or at the very very least, with him on your mind)

July 25

Had a great vacation, although due to medical emergencies in my family it was cut short.  I am looking forward to continuing it down the road when things clear up.

July 18

I am going on vacation this week so this will be short about about vacations.  Vacations are good and everyone one needs one every once in a while.  So if you have not taken a vacation recently, save your money and go.

July 11

Suffering for Jesus is not something we experience much in the US.  Sure there are people around us who oppose Christian values.  And our country is sliding further and further from traditional family values.  Sexuality is flaunted openly.  Less and less people believe in absolute truth not to mention the Bible or even God himself.  And anyone who stands up for their faith or biblical belief are seen as rigid or “phobic”.  There are some churches that have been vandalized because of the support of life and every once in a while a church shooting from those who are upset at what we teach and preach.
  But all in all, America still has the value of the freedom to worship.  We are not persecuted for going to church or killed because we follow Christ.  Our houses are not burned to the ground because of our confession.  We are not jailed for owning a Bible.  We can still live and work in our communities and are not shunned by our families when we tell them about Christ.  I cannot say the same for other countries around the world.  I have no idea if any thing like this will ever come to our shore, but it might.  Thankfully our country was founded on a Godly foundation (despite what others say differently).  But even that is coming under attack.  I hope and pray that we never have to face real suffering for our beliefs.  But if it does, I hope we are all ready to be the kind of people who will not deny Christ in the face of suffering and hardship.  That we will stand firm like Polycarp and not back down at the prospect of death.  Now is the time to prepare and not wait until we are standing on the wood pile.

July 4

I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July today.  And may God continue to bless our great country.

June 27

The question, Are you Ready?, is important in the Bible.  Whether you are pre-trib rapture believer or a post-trib rapture believer, you need to be ready.  Notice I used the noun “believer” in both cases.  Because I think you can still be a Christian and have one or the other opinion.  I personally believe the Bible teaches a post-trib rapture, but since we cannot know for sure until the future events happen we cannot (nor should not) hold too tightly to this belief.  God can and will fulfill scripture according to his plan and not our.  But either way we need to be ready.  We need to be ready if the rapture takes place tomorrow or after the great tribulation (or in the middle for all those mid-tribers out there).  And be ready if the opinion you have is wrong.  If you believe in pre-trib, are you ready to live into the tribulation (with all the persecution of Christians)?  If you are post-trib, are you ready right now to be raptured if you are wrong?  As I said, I would rather teach/preach a post-trib rapture and be wrong because once the rapture takes place no one will blame me for teaching in error.  However if I teach/preach a pre-trib rapture and I am wrong, I am going to have to live here on earth with the fact that I was wrong and will have to justify why I was wrong to others.  If I was wrong about something so critical as the last time, how will anyone believe I am right about all the other things the Bible teaches.  So I guess what I want to leave with you is to be ready.  Ready to suffer or ready to be raptured but most importantly to be ready to die and stand before our maker and judge.  Because whether or not we are living in the last times or God tarries for another 1000 years, most of us have a greater potential to die before the rapture takes place.  The death rate still is 100% (even Christ died).  Are you ready for that?

June 20

I hope you all had a great father’s day.  I know I did.  I am very proud of my three boys and how they are maturing day by day and week by week.  But fatherhood is hard and it takes effort to raise children.  Sometimes I think raising kids may be getting harder in today’s culture, but then I consider fathers down through the ages.  They all had different,difficult crises to deal with and who knows whether our crises are harder or not than theirs.  I am sure they did not think raising us was easy either.  The main job is still the same: how to raise selfish, sinful, ignorant boys and girls to be selfless, godly, knowledgeable young men and women who will be able to repeat this task with their own children.  And there is no formal training and differing opinions on how to do this.  It is hands on training, in real time, and often we find ourselves “flying by the seat of our pants”.
It was no different with Joseph in the Bible either as we saw a bit in yesterday’s sermon.  Raising a perfect son was not much different from raising an imperfect one.  You need love, patience, and a lot of wisdom from someone far greater then us: our heavenly father.  So do not get discouraged if your children do not turn out as well as Joseph’s son did.

June 13

It was good to sit back in listen to a message I did not have to prepare.  I really enjoyed Joe’s take on Esther and it was a good reminder to me (and I hope to you) that God knows all about the circumstances and the situations we are facing.  And the reason why we are facing those circumstances and situations is because God has a purpose by placing us in those circumstances and situations.  So we should not focus on the question why we are in such circumstances and stiuations, but how we can be used by God “in such a time as this”.