Sunday, March 31, 2013

Moses' mother put him into a basket in the river. After Pharaoh's daughter found him, she sent for a Hebrew woman to nurse him.

But it wasn't just any Hebrew woman.

It was her! His real mother!

I can't help but wonder how she felt the day she had to bring him back to Pharaoh's daughter.

I imagine she felt a bit like how God felt.

When His Son was born a human on this earth.

And again when His Son was on the cross.

But God saw the big picture. He knew that His Son had a purpose. A destiny.

He saved the world.

He saved all of God's other children.

This Resurrection Easter Sunday, don't forget to thank God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit for what they did for us.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

"My Kind Of Homework!"

There are some things in life that just never change. I believe Ecclesiastes 1:9 puts it like this..."there is no new thing under the sun."  

I remember when I was still in school and a holiday weekend was coming up, one of the biggest questions in my mind come Friday afternoon would be, "Will I have homework?"  I have noticed that that hasn't changed any since my day.  Friday afternoon every child at school starts asking or is it nagging, "Do I have to take it for homework?" It is never asked as a question, but more like a plea, and is always accompanied with puppy dog eyes meant to soften hearts to give the required, "No." response.

The thing is, we can choose to do our homework or not. We know that there is a price to pay if we don't. Bad grades, etc.  We can choose to put it off till the last minute while we pursue the things we want to do instead.  This too will reap consequences.  Lots of stress when we finally try to finish it!

This morning, I woke to a verse running through my mind, and with this weekend being the one that is all about the sacrifice that He made so that we could know Him!  It feels more like a "To do" kind of

So, the answer is "Yes!"  We have homework for this weekend..."Let every thing that has breath praise the LORD.   Praise the LORD!" Psalm 150:6

Question is....Will we get it done?

Friday, March 29, 2013

Come To The Table

"And now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Simeon are." Genesis 48:5

Jacob took Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, as his own. He took his two grandsons as his own. And they took part of Jacob's farewell blessing to his sons.

I find it incredible.

And it's an awesome example of what God has done for each one of us.

He has taken each and every human soul on this earth as His own children. We share in His blessings. He has taken us.

But most importantly........

We are His own.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

"An Old Friend!"

For today's little tidbit we need to meet up with an old friend of mine. You may already know him? His name is Bartimaeus. He's the son of Timaeus and he lives over in Jericho.  If not, I would really like for you to meet him! He used to be blind, but I'll let him tell you firsthand about his miracle. Let's head over to Mark 10:46-52 because I can't wait for you to hear his amazing story! ........... 

............"Yes, I used to be blind!"

"So what happened, How did you get your sight back?"

"Actually, it was a day like any other. I wasn't expecting a miracle that day! I was on the main road leading out of Jericho begging, hoping to receive enough to buy bread and maybe some fish to eat. Traffic on the road had been really light so I had only received a couple of coins. I was sitting there waiting, hoping for more when I noticed the sound of a crowd, faintly at first, and than louder as it approached. I got to my feet, hoping that someone in the crowd would notice me.  As the crowd got closer, I realized that it was a large one. I wondered why? What was going on?  It was very loud.  Everyone was talking. There seemed to be a lot of excitement! About?  Someone? I kept listening, trying to make out who?

Someone bumped into to me.  I reached out, grabbed his arm and asked him, "Whats happening? Whats going on?"

He answered quickly, excitement in his voice, "Its Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth," as he pulled away from me.

"I thought, Jesus? Who's? When it hit me. Jesus of Nazareth. He was the one I had been hearing stories about. He was the one who healed the leper and that paralyzed guy. The bread and fish. He fed all those people.  Suddenly my heart was full of hope! What about me?  Heal me! The next thing I knew I was crying out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"   I kept yelling it out louder and louder. Desperate for Him to notice me. I could hear people from the crowd telling me to be silent. To hold my peace but I couldn't! Everything in me was sure that if I could just get his I cried out even louder, "Son of David have mercy on me." Suddenly the crowd went silent and I heard His voice...softly in the distance saying, "Bring him to me."  Did He mean me? Had he noticed me? Or was he talking about someone else? My heart began to sink at the thought.  Was he too far away, the crowd to loud? Had He heard me? Suddenly there was a hand on my arm and a voice saying, "Be of good cheer, He is calling for you!" I was led over to Jesus... The crowd was now completely silent, watching, waiting to see what would happen next.

Here I was standing in front of Jesus.  My heart was pounding in my chest. I felt like I didn't dare take a breath...Could this really be me?

It was then that He spoke, "WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO FOR YOU?"  As His words hit my heart I knew. I knew, in that moment, even before I answered His question, that I was going to see again!

I spoke. My voice clear and strong. The breathlessness I'd been feeling moments earlier gone.

"Lord, that I might receive my sight."

He told me, "Go your way; your faith has made you whole."  Immediately I could see! His face! The love in His eyes.........

I hope my friend's story has blessed you as much as it has me. Remember you can trust Jesus to hear you when you cry out to him!  His heart is always going to be... "WHAT DO YOU NEED ME TO DO FOR YOU TODAY?"

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Is It Time Yet?

Proverbs 13:12 "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life."

Thanksgiving day. You can smell the turkey cooking. The potatoes are mashed. The cranberry sauce is in the dish. The table is set. You are ready to eat.

Then you hear, "It's not time to eat yet."

All your hopes of piling that delicious goodness into you mouth this second is gone. Completely and utterly gone.

However, when you hear, "It's time to eat!" Joy and gladness flow freely.

Now, this example is kinda silly, but it works.

It can crush someone when their hope is gone, when it is dashed and thrown against the proverbial wall.

Good news. Our God is the God of hope. He is hope. And He is the TREE OF LIFE.

And He is a God who loves to give us the desires of our hearts.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"Famous Kid Quotes"

As a youth pastor I have grown pretty attached to Parables! I love how Jesus would take something that His listeners could relate to and end up saying, "Gods like that."  I once challenged my young people to bring me any topic or item and I would show them God in/or through it.  Trust me, for about six months they tried to stump me and failed.  The point of the challenge?  To let them know that no matter what, they could see Him at work if they would just take the time to look and listen!  So, you may have guessed it, in the next few minutes I get to tell you, "Gods like that!"

I was praying earlier about what to share with you today when God brought to mind one of the most Famous Kid Quotes we get to hear at the school all the time. Not counting, "I didn't do it."  Here it is, "I hate Math!"  Our program is set up so that our students get a lot of one on one in the areas that they need it.  So more often than not, Math is the subject, and "Its hard. I hate Math." are the words coming out of their mouths.  My response is always the same, "Its not hard. It is actually the easiest subject. Once you learn the basics, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division you've got it made! It never changes 2+2 always equals 4, If you have 10 and you take 5 away you will always end up with five left etc.  It never changes, you can always find an answer! 

So, it is now time for His famous last words.  "Gods like that!"  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8.  He is always a God of love, a God who forgives, and He is always there with the solution if we will only look and listen for Him!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Hungry Man

Proverbs 10:3 "The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry. but He thwarts the craving of the wicked."

This is a good verse because it can be taken both literally and spiritually.

The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry.

You will not starve on God's watch. If He can care for the birds, how much more so for you!

But even more awesome:

God does not let those who are hungry for Him starve.

If you desire God, YOU WILL GET GOD!!!!

If you want more of God in your life, then He will gladly give you more! Just ask!

It's like having the hungry man TV dinner. The small ones just don't fill you. More is required in order to satisfy you.

Because you are God-hungry!

So start asking for the bigger portion!


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Eat Your Spinach

Today's snack is found in an exchange that God highlighted for me and can be found in  Mark 3:11-27.

We first see Jesus dealing with the unclean spirits in vs. 11. Then He gets accused......and the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, "He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils." vs. 22 After that He responds using common sense logic to defend himself..... lets them know that even the devil isn't going to fight against himself if he wants to win. ...And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. vs 23-26.

 He then says, "No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and than he will spoil his house."

As I finished reading this verse God immediately brought to mind a different verse.  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lusts, and enticed.  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved bretheren. Every good gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights...James 1:13-17

We need to remember ...WE ARE THE STRONG MAN, ITS OUR HOUSE!  The devil is not allowed to to enter and spoil anything just because he wants to.  He's not coming through the front door.  He knows you and I have the strength to win, but that doesn't mean he won't try to set a snare that will bind us long enough to spoil the good gifts, the callings that the Father has for us!

How many times over the years has a parent used these words.  "Eat your vegetables so you can grow big and strong."  when a child prefers junk food to healthy meals.  You and I, as believers need to eat  our "spinach" (THE WORD) so that we stay STRONG!  So that we say, "NO!" to sin and "YES!" to every good gift and every calling that the Father has for us.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Blessings over dinner

In Genesis 27 we have the famous story of Jacob stealing Esau's blessing.

I've never really viewed Esau as a victim, but God showed me a new angle to this story.

When Esau finds out that his father, Issac, has given the blessing to Jacob instead of him, the Bible says, "he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry." He begged his father, "Bless me, even me also, Oh my father!........Have you not reserved a blessing for me?"


They WERE a BIG deal!

It wasn't something that people said after someone sneezed just because it was polite. It wasn't something families quickly said around the dinner table before stuffing their faces.

Blessings held meaning in those days.

When you were blessed, that blessing was gonna happen.

When you were blessed, great things were coming.

When you were blessed, God Himself was involved.

Make no mistake, blessings were not polite, social protocols.

Blessings were blessings.

Question: If you've spoken a blessing today, was it more then just words?

Let's make blessings real again.


Friday, March 22, 2013

"Crackers and Cheese"

I was reading an old favorite and was once again marveling at this man's response when God showed me something else! So, today's snack is found in Mark 3:16 and actually has two parts to it, like "crackers and cheese." They go together.

If I was to write a book about unnamed heroes this guy would be in the top 5. He is most commonly referred to as, "The Man With The Withered Hand."  This is who he was before his encounter with Jesus, not after! In my opinion the man needs a new name.  Personally, I think I'll call him "THE MAN!"

I love this guy because of the way that he responded. He didn't hold back despite the circumstances.  He knew, the crowd knew, Jesus knew "they" were sitting there watching, waiting, judging what Jesus would do..."that they might accuse him."

Jesus, despite "them," said, "Stand forth."--- THE MAN STANDS. Jesus despite "their," silence at His question, "Is it lawful...?" tells him to, "Stretch forth your hand." ---THE MAN STICKS OUT HIS HAND.

I love him because he did it! He stood when Jesus said stand. He stretched when Jesus said stretch.  He exposed that withered, dried up, ugly looking hand. He wasn't fearful. He didn't keep it tucked away.  He didn't try to hide and disappear in the crowd. Despite the onlookers he stretched it out there for Jesus to deal with. 

We all have "withered" areas  in our lives that we need to expos to Jesus so that He will restore them and make them whole.  Too often we don't.  We keep them hidden and tucked away because of  "THEM."

Question is.....Do we run and hide our "withered" parts like Adam hiding in the garden or do we expose them to Jesus like, The Man?

Okay, So, that thought was the crackers portion of today's snack here comes the cheese. The something else that he showed me  The man wasn't the only one Jesus gave the opportunity to be made whole in this encounter.  After he told The Man to stand He turned and... saith unto "them," Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? To save life, or to kill?" But they held their peace." And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, "Stretch forth thine hand." And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other... vs.3-5

He asked them a question, He gave them a chance to respond. A chance to stand for doing good and choosing life rather than doing evil and choosing death.  He asked them to choose. Their silence exposed the hardness of their hearts for all to see. The Man's hand wasn't the only withered thing in this crowd. A hardened heart is the most wasted, withered thing of all!

My prayer today is that you and I as believers will be brave the same way this man was. That we will stand when He says stand, stretch when He says stretch, and expose to Him anything that might cause us to wither away.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Chew on this:

It's a lot easier to find someone, then find something.

And if you find someone, you can beg them to help you find your something.

Proverbs is very big on, "Getting wisdom, insight, and instruction. Hold onto her, and don't let go."

After reading that, do you ever go, "OK........God, how do I find wisdom? Where is she?"

I know that it would be easier for me to find Lady Wisdom and not let her go, if she was an actual person. If she was like you and me. Then we could sit down and chat. I could tell her my woe's, and she would have wise insights for me.

It would make life simple.

Good news!

Pure and true wisdom is God Himself!

And we can sit down with Him, any time, any day.

It really is much easier to find something, like wisdom, when you first find SOMEONE.

Question: Have you found the true WISE ONE today?


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Snack Time

Today's snack --- "Don't Leave Home Without Him"   Luke 2:41-51.

We have ten rather special verses here in Luke.  See if you can recognize them in your life.  I know that I can in mine!

We have a family taking a trip to a special church related event. They attend, it goes great, and its time to return home. They set off early in the morning and traveled for a whole day when they discover that they are missing their son. They immediately start searching for him. They check with family and friends. Still missing! So, they start retracing their steps back to where they saw him last. Three days later they locate him!

They went the whole day traveling without Jesus, assuming that he was traveling with them. How often do we do the same? Its pretty easy to sit in judgement and say, "How could they not know that he was missing for the whole day?" Easy! They, like us got busy and distracted with the plans, the preparations, the rush of the day. They forgot to take the time or they assumed that the other had laid eyes on Him. Neither one took the time to check in with Jesus, to ask the question, "Are we all set? Are we good to go?"

So, question for today: HAVE YOU CHECKED IN.......................OR IS HE MISSING?

HINT: He is easy to find..."Did you not know I must be about My Father's business?"