October 26

These last two weeks we have been talking about Philippians 2 which is all about unity, humanity, and humility.  Jesus was Paul’s centerpiece on what humility was all about as he humbly went to the cross.  I read this on my desk calendar this morning that adds to this idea.  Charles Stanley says in his book A Touch of His Freedom, “Jesus Christ did not die for you because you were actually worth dying for.  He died for you because he considered you worth dying for.  He put your best interests above his own — and he willingly marched to Calvary.”  An interesting thought.  It was not our actual worth that Jesus humbled himself, it was how he considered our interests above his own.

October 19

One of the points in this week’s sermon was on unity.  And while our country is called the UNITED States of America, it is all but.  Quoting the Bible during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divided cannot stand.”  It almost seems to be getting to that point.  With racial divisions, and political divisions, it seems like everybody is on one side or another.  There is very little middle ground.  And each side think they are in the right so much so that they villainize the other.  This name calling and demonizing just makes matters worse.  And sometimes it seeps into the church.  Mask-wearers vs. non Mask-wearers.  Calvinism vs. Armenian.  Traditional hymns vs. Praise songs.  It is important not just to call ourselves united, but actually be united.  This do not mean that we cannot think individually, but that we as individuals work together and seek the same things, like telling others about Jesus and his saving grace.  Do not become so caught up in the world’s divisions (and the divisiveness here in America), that it breaks up the unity we can have as believers.

October 12

The scary events of last week with my child almost having appendicitis and surgery was eye-opening.  Through it all, God allowed me to show patience (waiting for all the doctors/results) and reliance on God.  He was so good at calming my spirit and allowing his peace to overwhelm me in ways I have not experienced in a long time.  I hope you have times like this.  Not the medical scare, but times when God just overwhelms you with his peace and presence.

October 5

I skipped the first whole paragraph of Philippians to focus on abounding love.  But I do not want to do that here.  Because it’s message about how God brings his works to completion is another great message.  God is working in our life to make him more like Jesus.  And he is not done with any of us.  None of us are a finished work until we stand before him complete.  So I hope that you allow God to do his work in and through you and realize that God is not finished with you.

September 28

Good Friday as we mentioned on Sunday was not “good” at first.  It seemed like the end of the world to many other than God himself.  He knew what he was doing from start to finish.  However, the struggles and pain Jesus endured on that day sometimes parallel the struggles we face.  But God can (and sometimes does) redeem our “Fridays” and turns them into “Sundays”.  The days we feel are our worst defeat can quickly turn into our greatest victories.  Those days that seem like all is lost can led to days when all the pieces finally come together.  What days do you have that you need to ask God to turn into Sundays?

September 21

Quickly, this week there is a large focus on prayer.  I am taking part in a prayer conference Monday and Tuesday.  Wednesday is See you at the pole school gathering (as well as prayer meeting).  And I am meeting with a pastor on Thursday and praying with him.  So my encouragement for you this week is to be Men and Women of prayer too.

September 14

Prayer has been the subject of my thinking this morning.  A zoom call had it as a subject of discussion and my devotion was about the time Daniel prayed for wisdom.  Plus my desk calendar had this quote from Charles Swindoll, “Think before you pray . . . Draw your prayer out of real life.  Don’t lapse into mechanical muttering or convenient religious jargon.  You’re not just ‘saying a blessing,’ you’re talking to your God!”  It reminds me about that last several nights praying with my kids.  Every night when I put them to bed, I ask them, “What would you like to pray for tonight?”  And, knowing this pattern, my three sons usually answer the same thing every night- something to the effect “For the great day I had”. And I wonder sometimes as I close their door if that is all they pray for or if after I leave they pray silently to themselves things that are too embarrassing to pray with their father about.  I hope that is the case, but it might be they have just settled into muttering the same thing without thinking about who they are praying to.  Then I think sometimes we as adults sometimes do the same think.  Next time you pray, think about who you are praying to.

September 7

Fall is here and the weather here in central Illinois is making it feel that way.  This week in my personal devotional time, I have been reading through Ezekiel and I have come to the dry bones chapter (37).  The question God asks is, “Can these dry bones live?”  The answer comes when God does cause the dry bones to come to life through the breath of his Spirit.  We all have times in our lives when we encounter dry bones.  Whether that be personally or in someone else’s life.  And the question we often ask is, “Can these dry bones live?”  The great news is the same spirit that caused Ezekiel’s bones to live can breathe new life into our dry bones and bring new life.  But just like Ezekiel, we need to ask that Spirit to come into our dry bones.  Ask.

August 31

One of the stories in Billy Graham’s sermon was about the juggler who lost it all because of haughtiness and pride.  And the idea of juggling away our souls.  We cannot leave anything to chance.  We need to be sure that Jesus has changed our life.  Because without that assurance, it all can slip through our fingers.  What opportunities have slipped between your fingers and how are you going to make the most of the opportunities God gives you?

August 24

As I was thinking about what to write this week, I came across a quote from Bill Hybels that adds a bit to the sermon from John Wesley I preached this week.  “Service that pleases God is a heartfelt response for all that He has done.  Authentic servers realized that they are sinners deserving eternal condemnation.  They can do nothing to earn God’s favor.  Only Jesus’ death on their behalf buys their entrance into heaven.”