November 26

This Advent season I have found a book entitled Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Advent and Christmas with Charles Wesley.  As I work through it, I will probably post some of the lessons.  This morning’s story and verse lines up with much that I preached on Sunday about and how the light of Jesus should change our life this Christmas season.
Charles Wesley preached a valedictory sermon to the Oxford University community entitled “Awake, Thou that Sleepest” at famous St. Mary’s Church in 1742. He admonished his hearers to awake from their lack of concern about spiritual needs, from satisfaction in their sin, from contentment in their brokenness, from arrogance and self-centered complacency. The sermon did not go over well, despite the fact that he encouraged the students to reclaim their true identity as God’s children and to receive God’s promise of light, liberation, and love to fill their lives. Charles lamented that so many seemed to prefer the darkness. If we have eyes to see, however, aroused by the light of Christ, we wake to an astonishing grace. God does not wait for us to make the first move. Even as we sleep, the Spirit works in our lives to arouse us from our slumber. Countless acts of mercy, love, and grace surround us day in and day out. God attempts to get our attention in events, through the influence of other people, in sign-acts of love in the church. But most importantly, God wakes us up by coming to us in the person of Jesus Christ. Like the first light of dawn, the beams of this marvelous Light dance around us. The light breaks into the darkness of our sleep and awakens us to a new reality in our lives.
Ephesians 5:8-10 says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.”

November 19

This week is Thanksgiving.  It is the one time of year when the whole United States get together and give thanks.  I hope that one of the many things that you can give thanks for this year is for the wonderful redeemer we have in God.  He has seen our bondage to sin leading to death and out of His love provided a ransom to pay our way out of that slavery.  We can be free in Christ because of His shed blood.  Thank you for the cross.
Plus I would like to welcome all who are reading this devotion to come and worship this Sunday as we start the Advent season.  Service time is at 10:30.

November 12

I hope this series on The Many Hats of God has broadened your image of God.  God is so big and impossible to understand fully with our limited human minds, that it is a wonder that He was even able to reveal to us even a small part of His glory to us.  And yet these anthropomorphic glimpses so us enough to know that God is wonderful (literally wonder full).  And that is what God is all about.  He has revealed to us these glimpses so that we have know Him and have a relationship with Him.  God has shown us that He loves us, especially in this image of Father that we looked at this last week.  He has shown us His love and yet we have walked away in disobedience.  He is longing that His prodigal children will come to there senses and realize what a good and loving father our God is and to come back to Him humbly and in repentance.  He will not turn us away, or let us wallow with the pigs any more.  He will love us as his dearly loved child and accept us back into the family.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave is one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

November 5

Normally these devotionals are reflections on the sermon of the week.  However, this week, I want to write on a different subject . . . a topic that is more in line with this weeks events.  I am writing this article on Monday morning of the mid-term elections.  I do not know what is going to happen tomorrow.  I do not know who will win or who will lose.  But I would urge anyone who is reading this blog to do three things this week.
First and foremost, pray.  As always our country and our leaders need our prayers.  Despite what some histories tell us, our country was founded on religious freedom.  And even though most of our founding fathers and early colonists had Judeo-Christian backgrounds, they did not want to impose their beliefs on everyone.  They did however use Judeo-Christian principles and values in forming what we now know as the Untied States.  And prayer was something they did regularly in their decision making and shaping.  And prayer is just as important today in keeping America on track.  I truly believe that without consent and consistent prayer, our nation will cease to be.  Scriptures even command us to pray for the leaders ruling over us.  And I do not find any where in the Bible that says that we have to agree with those leaders before we pray for them.  So this week, I want for everyone reading to make a conscience effort to pray for our leader from the White House down.  And especially pray for those men and women who are newly elected (whether Republican or Democrat).  Pray that God would fill them with wisdom and humility.  After all, ultimately it is not the voters that put them into office, but God who see fit to raise up and depose leaders (Dan 4:17).
Secondly, I would urge everyone to vote on Nov 9th.  Do not think your vote does not count or that the mid-terms are not as important as the presidential elections. Do not think that just because to live in a state or area that is dominated by one political party or other that you will be “outvoted”.  Vote anyway or your voice will not be heard.  And do not be lazy or wonder who to vote for.  There are many ways to find out what the various positions and beliefs of the people running for office.  Be informed and vote for the people you think will best represent you.  If you do not know where to vote, find out.  A little research will go a long way.  And remember, no politician or party is perfect.  They have all made mistakes and might not be exactly what you are looking for or believe. Do not let that get you down or scare you away from the polls.  Vote for the person you think will best fill the job they are being asked to do.
Third, Support whoever is voted into office.  Whining or protesting or threatening does you and this country no good.  This also goes back to the first request about praying for our leaders and realizing that God is ultimately in charge of this election.  So if your party does not win, do not worry or wonder if somehow God lost control.  Support them with you money (taxes) and with your prayers.  Write letters informing them of your continued prayers and vision for how you would like them to rule our country.  They have good days and bad days and need encouragement every so often to keep them from discouragement.
Pray, vote, and support (and pray some more).  And through it all God will be honored and glorified.

October 29

HELL IS REAL!  And one day God will sentence everyone who has broken God’s laws to Hell.  This sometimes is a hard message to swallow.  With all the sermons these days on the love of God (which is another hat of God that I will preach in two weeks), we sometimes forget or ignore the fact that God is still Just.  And a just God cannot and will not allow those who have broken God’s laws into heaven.  God Justice cannot do it.  And God’s love (despite what some people think) will not allow it either.  The fact of the matter is when we die here on earth (or are raised to heaven at the end times) will stand before the Judgment seat and will be judged.  Those who know Jesus as their lawyer (if you follow the courtroom metaphors) will be declared justified and free from the penalty of death.  Those who try to make it to heaven on their own (without this lawyer), will be sentenced to die.  It is all spelled out in black and white in Revelation 20.  We also have hints of it in Matthew 25 with the sheep and the goats parable (sheep and goats are shepherd imagery that we will look at when I preach on God as Shepherd (tentative date Dec 30th)).
  So the question the question is, who is your Lawyer?  Jesus or are you going to represent yourself?  Because the fact of the matter is we have all broken God’s law.  As mentioned in the book of James, if we break even one of God’s laws, we are guilty of breaking it all.  We are all transgressors of God’s laws. And no amount of legal wrangling will get you off.  No technicalities, no  mental illness defense, no nothing.  The only way to be pronounced innocent is if you have accepted Jesus’ death on the cross as your payment for your sins.  Because Jesus suffered and died the death of an innocent man, His payment of death can be put onto your verdict.  Jesus can say to the Judge, “I paid the penalty for this person’s sin”.  So even though we are guilty, God can treat us “just as if I’d” never sinned. (Justified).
  If you would like this kind of payment put on your account, you can simply talk to God saying, “God. I know that I am guilty.  I have sinned against you and have no defense for it.  But I know that Jesus died for me.  He paid the price for my sin.  Please accept His penalty for the one I know I deserve.  I want to have Jesus as my lawyer and I claim Him as such right now. Amen”
  If you prayed that prayer, please contact me.  I would love to give you more information on how you can live a justified life before God.  Email me at

October 22

This last week we saw snow for the first time this fall.  And almost every time it snows (at least when it first starts to snow), I am reminded about the purity that God can bring to a dirty life.  No matter how much we try to scrub the dirt and filth away from our lives, we are still dirty in God’s eyes.  It is only when we wash with the blood of Jesus will our lives ever become clean and pure again.  James Nicholson was correct when he penned these words:
Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole; I want Thee forever to live in my soul. Break down every idol, cast out every foe — Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
Lord Jesus, look down from Your throne in the skies and help me to make a complete sacrifice. I give up myself and whatever I know — Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
Lord Jesus, for this I most humbly entreat; I wait, blessed Lord, at Thy crucified feet. by faith, for my cleansing I see Your blood flow — Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
Lord Jesus, before You I patiently wait; Come now and within me a new heart create. to those who have sought You, You never said, “No” — Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than now– Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

October 15

  God has revealed Himself to us through the Bible and the person of Jesus Christ who came to show us who God is.   We have been given the Holy Spirit to continue to be enlightened through God’s word to our hearts and live.  We as Christians have been given us His light.  And because of this we are to show others the light inside of us.  Many people who live and work around us are in darkness.  They may not have been raised to read the Bible or learn about Jesus.  Many people do not know a God who wants to have a personal relationship with them.  It is up to us to tell them this.  We are to be God’s light to shine into their darkness.  We are to bring hope and life to a world without light.  Without us doing our part, this world will continue to be dark and blinded to the reality they there is a God who loves them and deeply wants to have a relationship with.  Go and be that light!

October 8

  As I mentioned in my sermon, I love this Hat of God as King.  Because many times in my life, my world (and the world around me) seems out of control.  So I am glad and take comfort in the fact that God is still on His throne.  The world was not just made and then left on its own.  God still reigns.  He has the power and the authority to control not just on a big scale (stars and planets and the rest of the universe) but he is also in control of what happens in our daily, personal lives.  His authority and power comes right down to the individual level.  And He coordinates things in ways that I still find amazing.  One example of this is how He brought about this series of sermons.  I planned several months ago what I am preaching on now.  Through prayer and guidance from the Holy Spirit, I decided that I would preach this series on the Hats of God.  Since then I have begun attending Bible Study and Fellowship group (BSF).  The last several weeks have lined up almost identical to what I have been preaching.  And today, during my devotions just before typing this devotion, I came across this quote from Charle Swindoll, “He is the sovereign God of the univers and He’s never once lost control.  He strengthens and He secures His people.  Those who know their God operate in such a context of confidence, they can face whatever . . . and ‘disply strength and take action'”  God’s sovereignty gives me the confidence that no matter what the world throws at me, I will be able to handle it because God power in and through me.

October 1

      I am getting to the devotions a bit later in the week than I normally do.  I try to get the sermon of the week and this devotion posted to the website on the following Monday.  I got the sermon uploaded this week on Monday, but then my time after that was filled with other things that I felt were more pressing.  But looking back at what I filled my time with these last couple of days, I see that they were not as important as I treated them and I could have put them off another week.  My priorities were not where they should be.  I am sure I am not alone in setting my priorities incorrectly at times.  On occasion, I will put of harder things until later in order to do easier things now.  And it is typical that the easy things are usually the kind of things that do not need my attention right away.
     And as I thought about these struggles I have sometimes in prioritizing my time, I thought about how I struggle in prioritizing spiritual things.  I find myself putting off things God wants in my life for things I want to do or I find easier to focus on.  I also thought how quickly we can accomplish things we find enjoyable instead of focusing what would be more beneficial.  Are there some beneficial things God wants you to focus on this week that you have been putting off?  Listen and obey the leading of the Holy Spirit and take a new look at how your priorities line up with His.

September 24

This week we had 13 men from Teen Challenge come and share with us through music and testimony.  And there were several thoughts I got from them that I want us to ponder some more on in this next week.  One young man said, “Don’t bite at the bait of pleasure, until you know there’s no hook beneath it.”  Many times the pleasure that the world provides have hidden hooks.  But the pleasure we find in God is hookless.  He also said, “Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of no where, but sometimes in the middle of no where you find yourself.”   Often times we can only find God when we are at our lowest.  But God can take us at our lowest and raise us up to live with him in the highest.  “A Pessimist sees a difficulty in every opportunity but a Optimist sees an opportunity in every difficulty.”  I hope these words will resonate with you this week.