Our New Home

Our New Home
I love all the summer greenery around our home!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Its Indescribably Delicious!

So… how many “So” moments did you experience yesterday?  That word sure ran at the forefront of my thoughts throughout the day.  And as I began my study time this morning, I almost immediately came across another powerful “So” scripture penned by the same author in a discourse thought to be a circular letter written to the churches scattered throughout the province of Asia.

The Apostle John challenged his readers in I John 3:1 to “Consider this: The Father has given us his love.  He loves us SO much that we are actually called God’s dear children.  And that’s what we are.”  (Gods Word ©)  As I read this I quickly realized that He loved us SO much that He earnestly desired to adopt us no matter how dirty, ugly, and sin-stained our appearances and lifestyles were.  In fact the desire was SO strong that He sacrificed the ONLY One who could legally satisfy the adverse convictions and sentences of the law of sin and death. (See: Romans 8:2)  That One was His only begotten Son.  Adam Clarke’s commentary lists seven particulars of why God did what He did for us.  The fourth one reads “That sin must be an indescribable evil, when it required no less an atonement for it, than God manifested in the flesh.”  

The King James Version translates the beginning of I John 3:1 as Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us…”  Those words were meant to shockingly grab our attention and cause us to “take notice, consider, look by faith, with wonder and astonishment, and observe how great a favor, what an instance of matchless love” the Father expressed to the world by His totally selfless actions.  (John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)

That shock factor is similar to the reaction I have had at various times when my wife has walked into a room wearing a new dress or outfit.  This may sound funny, but she has a burgundy blouse that fits her like it was custom designed for her and causes everything about her, her eyes, her freckles, and her hair just to sort of pop!  It literally took away my breath the first time she put it on and walked into our living room!  And the same thing happened at another time when we walked into the family cabin that my in-laws had rented one summer.  You could almost hear a pin drop when the family who was seated around the room laid eyes on her!  They all sat there with their mouths open and didn’t move until her dad said “Wow!”

That’s the same powerful reaction that the knowledge of our Heavenly Father’s actions of love should have on us!  As the old commercial used to say “It’s Indescribably Delicious!”  The revelation of His love should make our mouths water and/or take our breath away!  Nothing in this world can be compared to it!  And to make it even better… this love is meant for you and me!  WOW!

If that doesn’t put a smile on your face and a snap in your step, I don’t know what will!  Have a great day.  Let that indescribable love shine through you today!  Stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

So!

Have you ever REALLY taken the time to explore the thought of how much God loves you?  I know that I have been talking a lot about that subject for the last few weeks, but something I read today caused a gusher to open up inside me. As I read what is probably the most memorized words in the Bible found in John 3:16, the adverb “so” jumped off the page at me!  Adam Clarke in his Commentary on the Bible states that “God has put an eternity of meaning in the particle ‘so,’ and left a subject for everlasting contemplation, wonder and praise to angels and to men.”  The Merriam – Webster online dictionary gives one definition of “so” “as (to bring the reader) to a definite but unspecified extent or degree.”  The Apostle Paul explained the “so” of God’s love by saying that it “goes far beyond any knowledge.”  (Ephesians 3:19 Gods Word ©)

Consider that if you will for a few moments here!  Clarke also commented that “Such a love that which induced God to give his only begotten son to die for the world could not be described; Jesus Christ does not (even) attempt it!”  (parenthesis mine) That’s a pretty awe inspiring statement.  So… think about God’s love for you and let that word “so” roll off your tongue for awhile today!  Meditate as far out as you can go on the height, the width, the length and the depth of that love.  (Ephesians 3:18)

I’m not sure why, but it reminds me of a Philosophy instructor that my wife and I had when we attended Santa Rosa Junior College.  He had the most irritating habit of preceding new revelations by rolling back and forth on the balls of his feet, while holding on to the podium and slowly saying “and ‘so’………..!”  He was using the word “so” more as a conjunction than as an adverb as I am today, but he surely got our attention!  Everyone in class definitely knew when another important statement had been uttered or was about to come forth!

So…. Just think about how much God loves you today.  Stay alert to how many times you hear the word “so” throughout your day, and then use each “so” as an opportunity to thank Him for His indescribable gift!  Use the “so’s” that you hear to know that God has just spoken forth an important, life changing statement for you to grow by.

So…. Have another great day!  And so, stay tuned and keep asking yourself…”What ‘So’s’ am I expecting to be encouraged by today?”


Monday, February 27, 2012

Poster Child

Well, I hope that all of you had a great weekend.  Saturday and Sunday’s tend to be some of the busiest days of the week for us.  I am still in the midst of introducing our new Children’s Church program, so my Saturday was centered pretty much the whole time on that project.  On Sunday morning the kids, helpers and I spent quite awhile putting up decorations on the walls.  I really wanted the students to help with the wall decorations so that they would take more ownership and feel like it was their room. 

I split the kids up into three teams with one of my helpers and myself over each group.  It was fun to see them laughing and chattering away as they seriously engaged in the project.  Even the two Middle school boys who are actually too old for the class seemed to get into the flow of things. It was a very serendipitous event!  When the time had come to begin the day’s lesson, we all stood in the middle of the room and enjoyed the warmth that the color on the walls brought to our hearts.  I think it actually helped them to participate and receive more from the teaching as well!

This morning as I found myself following some thoughts on knowing God’s love, I recalled the warmth that the little bit of additional color had brought to our Children’s Church classroom.  It made me consider the idea of how that was like God’s love expressed in our lives.  Every time we add to our knowledge of and/or experience a new touch of God’s love is like adding another bit of color to our existence.  It’s a warm glow that we can actually feel in our hearts that shines through our eyes, our words and through our actions toward others.

I John 4:8 says that “God is love.”  (KJV)  Therefore whenever we spend time with Him in prayer, in His word or even in fellowship with other believers (Matthew 18:20) we are receiving new portions of the warmth of His love into our beings.  Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible for this verse says that “love seems to be the essence of the Divine nature…”  This basic essence of God then becomes a part of our personal nature that we get to share with others.

I have a friend who works with children who have severe physical needs.  She told me how she always prays before entering the families home and how the parents welcome her warmly knowing that she (in herself) cannot change a thing as she sings to them, brings them toys, does art projects among many other activities and just spends time loving them.  I’m not sure if she realizes it or not, but she is bringing into those hurting homes the colorful warmth of God’s healing and restorative love in a very tangible form.  Her physical presence is as one of those posters that we put up on our walls yesterday.  It will bring a lasting joy and hope into that family for months to come.

That’s how God’s love works in and then through us.  The more we know of His love, the more we can give it to others in need.  Think about that as you go through this new week.  You may find yourself to be that special poster of God’s love that will brighten up a life that you come in contact with!  Stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What (or Who) am I expecting to bless today?”



Friday, February 24, 2012

Perpetual Spring!

I can’t believe that we are practically at the end of February already.  It seems like Christmas was just last week.  What’s exciting to me is that spring is less than one month away!  The Vernal Equinox is on March 20th this year.  Then we can start dreaming about blooming flowers, summer gardens loaded with fresh to be picked vegetables, drinking cool glasses of lemonade as we sit in the patio enjoying the warm weather late into the evening… Ah!  I guess I’m getting ahead of myself here.  You can tell that I am a spring and summer person.

You know what though?  You can experience the same pleasure that the warm spring and summer days bring just about anytime of the year as you walk in the grace that God has for us in Christ Jesus.  In my study on grace over the last couple of weeks, I have come to realize a simple definition of what grace is.  I believe, that among other things, that grace is the divine influence of the infinite resources of God in our lives.  It’s that influence that brings peace to our souls when those tough situations arise.  It’s that influence that causes us to have favor with people when favor is needed.  It’s that influence that causes people, places or things to line up so that we can have a particular need met.  It’s that divine influence of the legal battle that Jesus won for us through His blood that enables us to gain salvation and health for our spiritual and physical beings.

But it doesn’t just come to you like ripe apples falling off a tree.  Like anything else in the kingdom of God, we have to seek it and then receive it by faith.  Remember that our scripture from yesterday in Hebrews 4:16 says that we have to “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and we may find grace for timely help.”  (Literal Translation of the Holy Bible)  Then we can walk on in that confident EXPECTATION that assures us of receiving what we have asked for.  (Hebrews 11:1)  At that point you can sense His peace and experience the same kind of high that I do every time that I have taken a summer hike through a beautiful, wild flower studded alpine meadow in the upper elevations of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in north eastern California.

That is the experience of God’s grace in your life!  That’s what it means to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”  (2 Timothy 2:1 NIV)  I would encourage you to take some time this weekend to draw near to His throne of grace and then experience His influence that will take you into the realm of His “exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think…”  (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV)  Have a great trip!  We’ll see you again on Monday.  In the mean time, stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Peanuts

As I was studying yet another translation of 2 Corinthians 12:9 this morning, the Lord quickened my remembrance to a scripture that He had popped into my head at breakfast earlier in the week.  I quickly turned back through my daily study notes and found the notation from Hebrews 4:16.  The King James Version reads “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  Ah–Ha!  So I thought, then His grace is found at His throne.

While I meditated on this, 2 Timothy 2:1 came to mind saying “You then, my son, be strong in the Grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)  Well that put it all together.  Our Father’s Grace, His unmerited favor, was given to us through the actions of Jesus by His death, burial, resurrection and assumption into heaven where He presented His unstained blood as the perfect sacrifice to permanently free us from the dictates of “the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2 KJV)

Once again, it all points back to Jesus!  The closer we stay in contact and intimate fellowship with Him, the more readily is His grace available to us “to find help in time of need.”  (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)  Once I saw that this morning I understood why the Lord had clearly instructed me to keep the Word ever before my wife during this time of need in her life.  Not only would it keep directing her faith to the throne of grace, but it serves as the means to bring her back to the knowledge of the personal love for Jesus that she has always held closely throughout her life.

I know that I have probably shared this before, but it was her example of living with a close and personal relationship with Jesus that brought me to Him.  When we started dating as teenagers, I was amazed, intrigued and frustrated all at the same time with the way she talked about Him, as if He were as close as a brother.  As a strong Catholic I believed in Him, thought that I loved Him, but had no conception of the possibility of knowing Him as my PERSONAL Savior and Lord.  I can vividly recall wearing out the hall carpet in my parent’s home, walking back and forth, as we would talk for hours every night (after spending all day together at school!).  It seemed that those conversations always ended up discussing the realities of our religious beliefs.  In the end I could not disagree with her.  While she never pushed the issue of me receiving Jesus personally, I eventually realized that I desperately wanted it.

That intimate relationship with Him was simply a regular part of my wife’s life throughout the years.  It didn’t matter to her where she was, who she met or the time of day or night.  Jesus just sort of came out of her!  Just like the time quite a few years ago, when we ran into Charles Shultz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip, in a take and bake pizza shop near where we used to live north of our home town.  She went right up to him and started a conversation and then let him know as we turned to leave that Jesus loved him!

That active relationship with Him is the key to her faith for her healing.  That intimately active relationship with Him is also your key to having His grace operating in and through your life.  His grace is the difference between just making it through life and victoriously succeeding in the divine story that He has personally penned for you alone to complete.  Do you think that you’ve got what it takes to consummate your intended purpose?  It’s really not as hard as you may think.  Remember, His desires for you are the same as they were for the Apostle Paul when He told him that… “My grace is sufficient for you!”  (2 Corinthians 12:9 MKJV)  Stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Weakness vs Strength

“And he said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee:
for my strength is made perfect in weakness”   (KJV)

I read an interesting comment in the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary concerning the connection between our weaknesses and God’s strength.  It said that “The Lord has more need of our weakness than of our strength: our strength is often His rival; our weakness His servant, drawing on His resources, and showing forth His glory.  Man’s extremity (in other words when we are at the end of our own resources, hopes and strength) is God’s opportunity; man’s security is Satan’s opportunity.” (Taken from JFB Commentary on 2Corinthians 12:9)

It would seem that our point of weakness and subsequent yielding our position to the Lord gives Him the opportunity to perform His word.  The Lord’s comments to His prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:12 backs this up as the Lord told him that “I will hasten my word to perform it.” (KJV)

I mentioned yesterday about my revelation from the Lord concerning my dependence upon my wife for many important faucets of my life.  I have to be honest when I say that losing that place of security that I had established in our relationship was rather frightening to me!  The thought of that void brought to mind the picture of me falling into the large hole created by the removal of that foundation.  It was not a very promising prospect for the future.

It reminded me of an older gentleman who used to frequent the professional photography store that I worked at for a few years.  This man was a retired physician who had lost his wife a few months before I met him.  He would come into the store every few days to have restoration prints made of his wife that were taken when they courted and from the early years of their marriage.  This routine went on throughout the first year that I worked there.  He would come in and show us the pictures and then lament, usually in tears, about his wife’s beauty and the things they did as a young couple.  Whenever I would attempt to comfort him and try to help him through his grief (slipping into my Pastor role!) he would become argumentative (and abusive at times) and walk out.

It was clear that he, like me, had established parts of his life's  foundation in his wife.  But unlike me, he was not interested in yielding his weakness over to the grace of God and therefore attain the ability to move on in his life with a new hope and a more secure future.  I can still remember one of the last times that I saw him.  His whole demeanor seemed to echo what was going on inside of him.  I sadly shook my head and watched him as he walked slowly out of the store tightly clutching his photos, wearing a pair of wrinkled trousers, a shirt that looked like it hadn’t been washed in weeks and his hair amuck.  I then caught a final glance as he drove away from the store in his expensive Mercedes that probably hadn’t seen a car wash for at least a year!

His foundation was mistakenly built upon sinking sand.  How about you today?  How strong is your foundation?  Is it built on the unshakable Rock of the GRACE that “is sufficient for thee?”  I know that I sure don’t want to end up like that older customer at the photo shop… and I’m sure that you don’t either.  Yield any weakness over to Him and give Him the opportunity to perform the strength of His word in your life.  Stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

At The Coast...

Well, I’m back again after my self-imposed one day vacation!  If you’re in the USA, I hope that you enjoyed your President’s Day weekend.  If you recall back to Friday’s post, I had mentioned that I was going to take yesterday off.  And that we did.  After getting a few things done in the morning and then taking a short snooze, my wife and I jumped in the car and headed off to one of our favorite local rides out to the ocean.  It was supposed to be overcast out there, but it ended up being a beautiful day with blue skies and a few scattered clouds.  (okay… there were some dark clouds in the distance, but not enough to put a damper on our jaunt!)

This whole weekend tended to be a culmination of a lot of emotions that had been building up on the inside me.  I had come to the painful realization of the increasing void in me that was symptomatic of the loss of the intimate touch, talk over all communion between my wife and I due to the attack on her mind.  We have been the best of friends, confidants and much more to each other for over forty one years.  I tend to get a little annoyed with the good meaning folks who continuously ask me if I am getting enough time off by myself in the midst of everything that is going on.  To be honest, I don’t want to be off by myself.  Yes there are times that I need to run errands, and/or enjoy a cup of coffee with another friend, but I have and always will cherish my time spent alone in my wife’s company.

What has begun to take its toll though is the visible loss of the unspoken oneness that has always be a mark of our union.  I still share everything with her, use her as my sounding board, tell her my corny jokes (of which she still laughs!) and relate the most intimate thoughts of my heart of which I would never share with anyone else.  The lack of understanding in her eyes is what tears me apart.  And while I fully realize that this is a temporary condition according to the word of our Heavenly Father, I’m still finding myself having to face and deal with the emotions of the present.

Needless to say, I had a lot of hopes in that time off and drive that we took yesterday.  The coast has always been a place of quick reprieve for me.  There have been many times in the past when I hopped into the car and drove out to coastal hamlet of Bodega Bay to stare at the waves, pray and re-center my life.  Yesterday was no different, except that I received some clear direction from the Lord a ways before the blue Pacific came into view.

As we rounded a curve a few miles west of the town of Sebastopol, a song by Chris Tomlin came over the radio.  My deep thoughts and weariness were suddenly broken by the words that traversed past my ears and went directly into my heart saying “Your grace is enough for me!”  It was as if somebody turned on the lights in a darkened room.  The realization of how much dependence I had placed on my wife instead of in the Lord for my satisfaction, peace, happiness and sense of identity unfolded before the eyes of my understanding.  I immediately knew that my total dependence for everything needed to be shifted from my wife to Him and that no matter what lie was unraveling in front of me that His grace is sufficient for me!

It was just like when the persecutions of the people were so heavily drawing upon the strength of the Apostle Paul that he cried out to the Lord to remove the constant attacks when He told him that “My grace is sufficient for you…”  (2 Corinthians 12:9 MKJV)  I will share more on this throughout this week, but for now it is important to know that He is the ONLY one on which we should place the foundations of our lives.  It is a burden that even the greatest of men (or wives!) were not made to carry for us.

So take a journey with me this week as we explore the advantages and freedom of His grace that is sufficient for both you and me.  Take a quick look around you.  Is there anyone whom you need to relieve from carrying your burdens?  You know, it is not fair when we knowingly or unknowingly make others to carry our hopes and dreams.  I had to go up stairs and apologize to my sweet wife this morning… and you know what?  I could see a gleam in her eyes starting to return and a new understanding dawning within her.  Have a good week, stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Final Word on Your Destiny

I received a call the other evening from our youngest son in Oklahoma.  He had just walked home from work and was interested to see how we were doing since we hadn’t spoken to each other for about two weeks.  I enjoy our conversations because the subject will always eventually turn to “Well, what has the Lord been showing you lately?”  It is uncanny the amount of times that our answers to that question are the same! 

This week as we talked the conversation kept coming back to the central theme of knowing God’s love for you.  We discussed how the level of one’s personal faith is dependent upon the depth of their understanding of the love that God has for them individually.  Then we went on to share personal experiences in this vain.  This conversation came back to me earlier today…

The morning scripture lessons that the Lord has been giving me between 4:00 and 6:00 AM have gotten to be a regular event for me lately.  Today’s theme centered around Moses’ command to “be strong and courageous”  (Joshua 1:9 - These words from the Lord were actually a repeat of all that Moses had commanded Joshua before his death in Deuteronomy 31)  As I meditated on this phrase, I realized that in keeping with our week long look at fulfilling our destiny, that these words were spoken to Joshua right before he set off to advance the calling on his life.

Later on I continued with this direction by studying out those two words through my various Bible translations, concordances and commentaries.  One of the descriptions for the term “strong” as used in the old Hebrew language was “to seize.” (Strong’s) As I meditated on that for awhile, the Lord seemed to indicate to me that in particular, it meant “to seize the moment” by taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves to you at a particular time.

John Gill stated that Moses’ command was intended to move Joshua “to show greatness and strength of mind, valor and courage, and not be dismayed at the number and strength of the enemy.”  (John Gill’s Exposition on the Entire Bible for Joshua 1:6)  One of the definitions for the word “courageous” that Strong’s explained was “to harden,” meaning to harden your resolve against outside influences, distractions and negative words spoken against you.

In concluding our theme for the week, I would like to submit to you the idea of how we need to be confident and secure in our calling and therefore in God’s love toward us in His desire for us to succeed in this life.  There will always be those people, places and things that will disagree with you in your quest.  Some may even be convinced that they know more than you and take upon themselves the personal mission to discourage you and to “set you straight!”  This, I believe, is precisely what Moses was forewarning Joshua about.  Moses knew from personal experience that obeying the word of God was of greater importance than even the voices of those close to him.

And what was it that motivated Moses to keep moving along the path that God had called him to follow, even when everyone was murmuring against him?  It was his close personal relationship to God and his unyielding knowledge of His love for him.  Recently as I sat in one of my favorite prayer places at the bottom of our staircase late one night, I found myself questioning God as to why some have seemingly abandoned my wife in her greatest time of need.  The only answer that He gave to me pointed not to those causing the infraction, but to His consistent, unquestioning love for her.  Basically He informed me that while others may let go, that He is ALWAYS there no matter what the time, place or need. That He would NEVER abandon her.

That was a breaking time for me.  No more would I have reason to look at what I may perceive as the faults in others in their response to her, but only to our loving heavenly Father and His overwhelming care for us.  At that point, between the tears, I knew that no matter how difficult the future was, that I – NO WE – would be able to make it through this “valley of the shadow of death” (Psalms 23:4 – KJV) and on to complete the vibrant purpose that my wife and I were meant to share.

This is also the determination that you must resolve to have as you persevere to complete your destiny.  I was reading that the “Targum of Jonathan” which is an Aramaic translation
of the Hebrew Bible written or compiled from the Second Temple period until the early Middle Ages, translated the end of Moses’ command to his protégé in Joshua 1:9 where it says that “The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Gods Word ©) as “for thy help is the Word of the Lord thy God.”  (John Gill on Joshua 1:9)

While many will try to “help” you along your God-given quest in this life, the one input that you would be best to secure your way is the word of God.  And this solid foundational truth is to be based on “Christ’s love which goes far beyond any knowledge.”  (Ephesians 3:19 Gods Word ©)  Have a great weekend, stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?” 


PS:  I will be taking this Monday (which is the President's Day holiday here in the USA) off, so I will see you again on Tuesday.  Enjoy your holiday!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Zeal

Zeal:  “The passionate ardor in the pursuit of any thing.”  “Enthusiastic devotion to 
            a cause, an ideal or a goal and timeless diligence in its furtherance.” *

I awoke very early again this morning and laid there in the dark, thinking about my wife.  Suddenly the word “zeal” popped into my mind and I began to quietly laugh with the understanding of how that word accurately describes the way my partner in life has lived her days.  I also realized how this same zeal is needed for us to successfully complete the destiny we were called to fulfill in our lives.

It was her zany zeal for life that drew me to my wife back in High School.  It wasn’t just her gorgeous smile and funny disposition though, it was a joy for the Godly life that was deeply etched within her heart that showed forth as a beacon of light.  She had such a engrained knowledge of God’s love for her that nothing could move her from that happiness that gushed on to whomever came near her.

Yesterday I mentioned a tense time that occurred many years ago on the job.  I talked about my easy going demeanor in the midst of the pressure and how my intent was originally misconstrued by my boss. What I didn’t mentioned though, was how I was handling the pressure that I was feeling on the inside of me during that experience. That event was especially tough on me as the new manager was placed into that position after the higher ups “moved” our former leader who just happened to be a very good friend of mine.  I always felt that it was a bad decision on the part of management.  Unlike my friend who had strong working knowledge of the manufacturing process that our line was involved with and also enjoyed an excellent relationship with everyone on the team, the individual that replaced him was a young engineer with very little people skills. Inserting that combination into a pressure situation was like pouring gasoline on a fire!

It seemed to me that I was the only one on the management team that understood that, at the time.  (This played out later out as the new manager did not stay in that position for very long…) Needless to say, the inner emotions that I was experiencing only exasperated the outside pressures that our team was facing at the time.  If it had not been for the support and the strong zeal for living the Godly life that my wife demonstrated before me, I think that I may have ended up being one of the catastrophes of that explosive situation! 

Her sweetly encouraging voice mail messages that I would find waiting for me when I would return to my desk from the many emergency meeting that were being held, the little love notes scrawled on the napkin in my lunch bag each day and the quiet embrace or clasping of my hand when I would drag myself in the front door after a 10 – 12 hour workday all helped to give me the strength to complete the difficult task before me.

This zeal is also a very important ingredient to have and to use from our personal tool box in our lives.  It takes the “enthusiastic devotion to the cause” that God has called us to in order to complete our destiny.  This zeal will assist you through the tough times when everything else seems to fail you.  This zeal will help to keep you focused on Jesus Christ and the power of His word.  2 Timothy 2:8 instructs us to “always think about Jesus Christ…”  (Gods Word ©)  It’s that power through the Holy Spirit in us, that keeps us going no matter what anyone or anything else is telling us.  How strong is your zeal right now?  Stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”


*   A combination of Webster’s 1828 Dictionary and the American Heritage College
       Dictionary – 3rd edition, 1993

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Be You!

Yesterday I quoted from Adam Clarke’s commentary on the Bible concerning his scholarly thoughts on 2 Timothy 1:7.  In particular it covered the original intent for the statement that God has given us a sound mind.  The comment continues with a little more depth on all that the sound mind includes.  (Review these initial descriptions in the 2/14/12 posting entitled “The keys to Success.”)  Rev. Clarke states that “the apostle says, God hath given us the spirit of these things; they are not factitious (artificial or made up); they are not assumed for times and circumstances; they are radical powers and tempers; each produced by its proper principle.”

I looked up that word “radical” in Webster’s original 1828 dictionary as it would more accurately define the use of that term in the time period when it was written.  Simply stated, it means that these “things” or “powers” that are conducive with a sound mind, are part of the original package that God put into us that makes us unique and or different than anyone else.  So if we continue our discussion on our destiny or our calling, we can see through this thought that although others may have a similar calling on their lives, the actualization of the plan will most likely turn out totally different than yours or mine.  Because each of us has been given a unique personality and different circumstances to work with!

I tend to have the type of personality that likes to take the comical side of things when faced with various circumstances.  I normally get encouraging results with the humor I attach to my preaching, writing and overall forecast on life.  Most times this approach ends with positive outcomes, every-so-often though, it blows up in my face!  I once had a new manager call me on the carpet due to what he thought was my light-hearted attitude in the midst of a trying and tense period involving our production schedule.  He later apologized to me when he came to the realization that my approach was actually keeping the peace between the management and the hourly crew. 

Another incident occurred way back when I was working part time at the old local Sears store during my Junior College days.  On one summer evening a distraught customer came in to the Sporting Goods department where I worked demanding a refund on the 99 cent air mattress that she had purchased the previous summer, because it had sprung a leak over the winter.  My initial response to her was one of unbelief and I broke out in laughter stating “Well, what else would you expect from a 99 cent air mattress?”  I suddenly wished that I hadn’t been so cavalier when I saw the angry look on her face (as well as the shock that my co-worker displayed!)  I quickly got serious and told her that “of course we will refund her money” - although it was all I could do to keep a straight face!.

So what’s my point?  Don’t try to copy someone else!  God has given you special qualities that make you who you are.  Capitalize on those distinctions!  Live your life and pursue the dreams that God has placed in you with your own flavor or signature!  Don’t try to be like someone else because you’ll always find yourself coming up short.  Be who God called you to be!  Just remember to duck when the customer throws the air mattress at you! (just kidding!)  Have a great rest of the week.  Stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Key To Success

This morning was another one of those times when I awoke very early and could not seem to fall back asleep again!  Many different subjects ranged through my mind, but one particular scripture kept reoccurring.  It was almost like I was viewing that portion of God’s truth in my  Bible study program on the screen of my mind.  That verse in the Modern King James Version reads “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  (2 Timothy 1:7)

Power, love and a sound mind.  The more I thought on those words, the slower they passed across the eyes and ears of my inner understanding.  God’s miraculous power and ability for us to overcome all obstacles and to face all dangers.  His love that drives out fear, and a sound mind that defines to us “a clear understanding, a sound judgment, a rectified will, holy passions, and heavenly tempers.  In a word, the whole soul (or our entire being) harmonized in all its powers and faculties; and completely regulated and influenced so as to think, speak and act aright in all things.”  (Adam Clarke’s commentary on 2 Timothy 1:7 – parenthesis mine) 

Those definitions bring us right back to the destiny or calling that our heavenly Father has designed for each of us to fulfill in this life.  His power, His love and the soundness of mind that He gives to us are the very tools that we have at our disposal from His heavenly arsenal.  When our dependence drifts away from ourselves and becomes fixed on Him, we become empowered to remove all road blocks and walk triumphantly along His paths of glory.

I can remember many incidents throughout my life when I was given a task to perform that I had no idea in the natural how to accomplish.  These different incidents ranged from ministry projects, to budget projections in the electronics industry that I worked in for twenty years, to parenting issues.  It doesn’t really matter what you do, there will always be opportunities that stretch your physical and mental capabilities.  In each of these situations I had to yield the care of the task into the hands of our loving heavenly Father because it was well beyond what I could offer within the extent of my experience, education or practical know how!  And in each of these applications I was given the wisdom, knowledge and understanding to accomplish what was asked of me.

You could say that I had an advantage that some of my co-workers did not subscribe to.  You have that same advantage available to you.  It is called His grace, or simply stated, His divine influence in your life.  All a Christian has to do is to ask, listen and then obey.

I can also remember some opportunities that I missed in my life because I let the fear of failure and the doubt of my own abilities to rob me of the chance to succeed through His power, love and the soundness of mind that He alone can give to me.  Don’t let that be your testimony at the end of the day.  Keep ever foremost in your mind the truth that “God has NOT given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind!”  Stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting TO SUCCEED IN today?”



Monday, February 13, 2012

A Call To Destiny

I recorded an old black and white movie about Abraham Lincoln over the weekend from the TCM channel.  While the film which was produced in 1940 was a little slow (okay… real slow!) according to modern standards, it did display a fairly accurate and touching portrait of the life of our 16th president from his teen years up until his presidency.

It was very easy to see that this was a man that was called to fulfill a God given destiny.  Here we have an individual that had no formal education and was considered by many to be an ignorant country bumpkin.  Throughout most of his life he had no real ambitions and simply sought to be true to his word and at peace with all.  Later in life he came to the understanding, to his own chagrin that he had to face the truth and follow the higher calling set before him.

When he accepted the nomination as the president of the United States, he did so fully realizing that our great Union was about to fall apart.  The rest of his story is history as he stood against the astounding forces against him (from both within and without of his government), took extraordinary measures, wisely yielded extreme presidential powers never before invoked by any previous leader, stood the test and solidified our country’s union as one nation under God.  In fact it is said that before the civil our country was indiscriminately spoken of as either “the United States or “these United States.”  The Civil War was a significant force in the eventual dominance of the singular usage by the end of the 19th century." *  have often wondered how the civil rights movement may have differed had Mr. Lincoln lived to see his reconstruction measures put in place following the devastating war.

Abraham Lincoln’s life story is really no different than that of yours and mine, excepting that he finally yielded to the calling on his life.  Have you sought out and yielded to the God-given plan that He has made for you to live?  From all the research that I have done on the man that is considered to be one of the top three presidents of our country, I cannot find definitive information to confirm if he was a Christian or not.  He definitely believed in God and the Golden rule, but did he ever make a personal declaration of his faith?  We may never know... at least until we get to heaven that is!

What I do know though, is that as Christians we have a far better chance at fully completing the destiny that we are called to.  2 Timothy 3:17 unequivocally states that God’s holy scriptures “equip God’s servants so that they are COMPLETELY prepared to do good things.”  Think about that.  God not only has called us to meet a specific destiny, but has also given us the tools to successfully complete our life’s mission!

Kind of makes you want to jump into to His instruction booklet and find out some answers doesn’t it?  Well, I would whole heartedly encourage you to indulge in that feast.  As we celebrate and honor the birth of Abraham Lincoln as well as that of all of our Presidents during the next few weeks, make plans to regularly sit at the banquet table of His word and feast on the delicacies that He has painstakingly prepared in order to ensure your success!

Stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”


* Presidential Proclamation-Civil War Sesquicentennial”.  The White House.  April 12, 2011.  Archived from the original on October 20, 2011 “a new meaning was conferred on our country’s name…”

Friday, February 10, 2012

Total Agreement

“O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good:
because his mercy endures forever.”  (Psalm 118: 1 – KJV)

It is interesting to note that the Greek Old Testament translates the Hebrew word for “thanksgiving” as “acknowledgement.”  This definition adds another whole level to the giving of thanks.  Instead of limiting the term to a form of verbal gratitude to God, it expands our heartfelt appreciation for all that God has, is and will do for us, into the arena of profession, confession and total agreement with His word.  Thayer’s Greek Definitions states that to acknowledge means “To profess that one will do something, to promise, agree, engage.  To confess.”  James Strong simply defines it as to “Agree fully.”

Now think about that for a moment.  When we give thanksgiving to God we are actually professing our faith in Him and confessing our total agreement with His word!  Now I can really understand why extended thanksgiving and praise brings us directly into the presence of our loving heavenly Father!  That’s exactly what happened when the people of Israel, along with the priests, the Levitical singers and the musicians gave thanks unto the Lord by professing that: “He is good; His mercy endures forever” (I Chronicles 5:13 Gods Word ©) as the Ark of the Covenant was brought into Solomon’s newly constructed temple.  The story continues by explaining how the cloud of the Lord’s presence filled the temple so as the priests could not continue with their work!  
(See 2 Chronicles chapters 5 – 7)

Wow!  I encourage you to think about that added dimension when you go to speak out a word of thanks to God.  Embrace the entire circumference of the action that you are about to partake of.  Allow yourself to go beyond a simply word of thanksgiving and let your profession ring with the confession of your total agreement and yielding to the truth of His word and the power that only He can bring into your life!  Then go out and make a difference in your world.

Have a SUPER weekend as you yield to Him and allow yourself to become a conduit of His mercy (or better yet of His compassion) to those who are fortunate enough to come into your presence!  Stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Spice Up Your Life!

I have noticed that throughout the book of Psalms, the giving of thanksgiving is usually mentioned in connection with joyful praise.  I think that this is due to the fact that it is really difficult to spend any extended amount of time in giving thanksgivings to God before one is overtaken by joy and praise!  In my own experience it is as though you reach a place where the troubles of the moment just seem to fade away into a tangible cloud of His presence.  And like I mentioned yesterday, that is a good feeling!

When I was growing up in the family home, I can hardly ever recall a time when my Mom did not have some kind of music playing in the house.  She has always loved to sing (Believe me, I could go on and on with all the stories of her trio that she sang with in High School…), play the piano and listen to all kinds of music from classic Mario Lanza, to Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra (her High School heart throb – I think she was just as wild and crazy about him as my older sister was with the Beatles!) and other contemporary singers.  She even enjoyed and encouraged us in the different Rock bands I started in Junior and Senior High.  (That’s probably why she didn’t mind when we would bring our electric guitars and the drums into the house to practice after our neighbor would call the police due to what he called the “loud disturbing noise” emanating from our garage! --- I think that I told you that I had my first unofficial date with my wife in her hot Camaro after one of those practice sessions… but that’s another story!)

I would imagine that I gained that same love of music from her.  Music in our house today is just a regular part of our life.  The majority of the time we enjoy listening to various styles of Christian praise and worship, although we also found a great classical radio station that we’ll play in the afternoons.  Music tends to help us keep a positive atmosphere in our day.

The other day as my wife and I were sitting quietly at the kitchen table, I decided that we needed to spice up our morning attitudes.  The very upbeat music (actually kind of Rock and Roll… I still enjoy a good loud electric guitar solo occasionally!) that was playing just wasn’t doing the job.  So I began to exuberantly read from our 100 plus healing scriptures list.  It was really kind of interesting because my wife quickly tuned in to my antics and began to verbally exclaim her agreement after each verse.  Suddenly I read one of our favorites from Psalm 118:17 that says “I will not die but I will live and tell what the Lord has done!”  (Gods Word ©)   When I finished the last word I simply could not contain myself anymore and jumped from my seat and found myself exclaiming thanksgiving and praise to God.  While my wife did not jump up, she also went right into proclaiming her thanks unto God.  For a few moments there, it was like she was totally back to her old spunky self!

After awhile I sat back down and the two of us sort of basked in the glow that filled our home.  And I have to tell you that it was a marvelous feeling!  In fact, both of us looked at each other and burst out laughing!  It definitely was an Acts 3:19 experience when Peter exclaimed to the crowd that had gathered in astonishment over the miraculous healing  of the crippled man saying “…Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord.” (KJV)  That has to be why it feels so good.  When you enter into thanksgiving and praise you are drawn right in to His presence!  And nothing in the world can duplicate that experience of joy.

So if you’re feeling down or just need to add a little spice to your day, I would strongly suggest an extended time of exuberant thanksgiving and praise.  Who knows… it might just be the beginning of a whole new experience for you!  Go ahead… enjoy yourself!

 Stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The 12th Man

Well, you’ll be happy to know that I braved the elements (Haha!  A little bit of light rain!) and made a special trip to the store and purchased not one but two boxes of Safeway’s Bite Sized Shredded Wheat.  Now I know that you’re all wondering why it has to be Safeway’s brand of Shredded wheat…  So, I’ll let you in on a little secret.  The Safeway cereal is courser than the name brand versions of bite size shredded wheat.  Therefore, since my wife takes so long to eat her meals, this brand does not turn into mush like the others do!  Remember that 2 Timothy 1:7 says that God gives us a spirit of “good judgment.”  (Gods Word ©)  I guess that His “good judgment” also helps one to decide on the best cereal to eat as well!

I just can’t seem to get my thoughts off the subject of giving thanks.  It seems like everything I read lately connects me with that subject!  Today as I glanced at the open Bible on my desk, I focused in on 2 Timothy 2:1 where it says, “My child, find your source of strength in the kindness (or grace) of Christ Jesus.”  (Gods Word © - parenthesis mine)  The challenge “to find your source of strength” drew me right back to the events in Jonah chapter two that I barely touched on yesterday.

Here we find a scared Jonah who after freaking out and running from the command of God finds himself in the belly of a giant fish.  If anyone needed to quickly discover their source of strength it was him!  So what did he do?  Jonah 2:1 implies that he must have come to his senses since he “prayed to the Lord his God.”  (Gods Word ©)  After his request for mercy and deliverance His faith boomed as he called his immediate surroundings ”lying vanities.” (KJV) Then “in the believing anticipation (or EXPECATION) of sure deliverance, he offers thanksgivings...”  (Jamison, Fausset and Brown Commentary of Jonah 2:9 – parenthesis mine).  The last verse of the chapter records his intended results saying “Then the Lord spoke to the fish, and it spit Jonah out onto the shore.” (Jonah 2:10 Gods Word ©)

Sometimes the situations in our lives cause us to have to look for our source of strength.  It would seem that one of the many attributes of giving thanks unto God is to assist us in our search.  The giving of thanks acts as a channel that causes us to direct our attention to our God.  It works to put the ball back into His field.  You could say that it gives us the home field advantage. It is kind of like having the “12th man” playing on your team!  Most football teams will tell you of the advantage the 12th man or the input that the home team fans have on the outcome of a game.  (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/12th_man_(football) for more background on this term)

Being on your own playing field gives you the upper hand in any situation.  The giving of thanks helps in the transition between where you are to where you need to be, in order to have command and then victory over the rough plays in your life.  You know what… the giving of thanks also makes you feel good, but more on that tomorrow!  Say what do you know?  Today is Wednesday and we’ve already made it halfway through the week!  Have a great day, find your strength in Him and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

HELP!

Well, I got to put into practice what we talked about yesterday. How about you?  Did the opportunity present itself to give thanks to the Lord even though it was the furthest thing from your mind?  I sure did, and it just happened a few minutes ago!

After breakfast yesterday, I noticed that we were just about out of the cereal that my wife usually has for breakfast.  To be honest, I forgot to get some when I did a little bit of shopping on the previous day and did not really want to go back to the same store again.  After lifting the matter up in a short prayer, I felt that it might just be a good time to try something different for her breakfast.  She is eating better now and has been having the same breakfast for months.  So I figured that we would try some pancakes and scrambled eggs.

Well… all went okay for the first few bites and then she decided to not open her mouth again!  My immediate reaction was somewhat uncharacteristic for me as I began to get irritated with her. (This was probably because I was feeling a little guilty for not going back to the store yesterday!)  For one fleeting moment the thought of flying a dish across the room flashed through my mind. I quickly came back to my senses though, and thought how stupid that action would be.  After all it’s not her, but the symptoms of the attack of the devil on her mind that is causing her to not respond clearly.  With that understanding I swallowed hard, calmed myself down and asked the Lord for some HELP!

With almost split second timing everything I shared with you in the blog yesterday came floating into my mind.  I kind of chuckled to myself and then quickly began to verbally thank the Lord that my wife was enjoying her breakfast.  Then I offered her another forkful and she opened up her mouth and savored the bite.  This process continued (thanksgiving and eating, thanksgiving and eating…) for awhile until she just about finished everything on her plate.

You know… life would be a lot more peaceful and enjoyable if we could just do what the Lord asks us to do in the first place!  Many times we use the giving of thanks as the tool to get us through the problem that we brought upon ourselves in the first place!  It reminds me of Jonah in the belly of the whale.  After disobeying God and getting swallowed by the whale, we find the prophet of God repenting and offering “sacrifice to you (God) with songs of thanksgiving.”  (Jonah 2:9 Gods Word ©)  And just as with my experience this morning, the way of escape presented itself and everything worked out okay!  Thank you Jesus!

I am so thankful to God for His unending and extravagant love for you and me.  He just keeps on keeping on with His actions of love toward us when we come to our senses, yield to Him and offer up the sacrifices of Thanksgiving.  Keep that truth in the forefront of your thoughts today as you will probably get to take advantage of it!  Have a great day.  I’ve got to get to the store to buy some more Safeway brand shredded wheat…  Stayed tuned and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Monday, February 6, 2012

What... Give Thanks in Bad Times?

For the last few weeks we have been talking about the Christian Character ABC’s in our Children’s Church class.  It has been fun as we began our new class theme of “Secret Agents” (or: CIA = Christians In Action!) by relating these characteristics with the attributes of a good agent!  One of the four characteristics that I introduced yesterday was Gratefulness.  I simply defined this trait as “Being Thankful.” 

Some of our students were not real happy with me when I handed out quarters to everyone and then tripled the amount to those who had said “thank you” to me!  This got their attention real fast.  Then I really confused them when we read and discussed I Thessalonians 5:18 that says, “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

When I asked them if they give thanks to God when bad things happen, they looked at me like I had lost my marbles!  One girl exclaimed, “Why would you thank God for something He didn’t do?”  I quickly explained that we are not thanking Him for what happened, but instead, by thanking Him we are showing Him that we trust Him for the fix.

This morning as I was reading to my wife from F.F. Bosworth’s definitive text on healing  “Christ The Healer,” I had the thought that by thanking Him after a tough incident we are immediately placing our trust into His hands and closing the door to any further attack of the enemy through our responses of anger, self pity or physical or verbal retaliation.  Bosworth stated that we should “blow the ram’s horn of faith and thanksgiving until the walls of our affliction (or hurt from something bad happening to us) fall down flat.  Faith does not wait for the wall to fall down; faith shouts them down!”  (as in Joshua 6:20)  The giving of thanks immediately places us in God’s power of faith and out of the hand of fear.

So… think about that this week as you face the various situations in your life.  Would you rather put up a wall that causes you to live and react to life in fear, or shout down any walls and allow the blessings of God to flow into your life through your giving of thanks?  Have a good week, stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today

Friday, February 3, 2012

You Are What You Eat!

The old saying that “You are what you eat” came to my mind this morning as I began to investigate the meaning behind Paul’s words in Romans 12:2.  The most common translation of this verse encourages us to “be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”  (KJV)  The Gods Word Bible simply says to “change the way you think.”  The one translation that I like the best though comes from the Contemporary English Bible.  It suggests that we let God change the way we think.”  It makes it clear that the task is in God’s hands and not ours alone.

So, how do we allow Him to do this?  (I’m glad you asked!)  Our first responsibility is to make the decision to let Him perform a change in us.  Then we need to follow through with that decision by “hanging out” with Him.  I guess this is why that phrase came to my mind as I thought this through!

The actual quote “You are what you eat” is a rough translation of a phrase that was written by a French doctor and gourmand, Anthelme Brillat-Savarin in 1826.  It would be more logically translated as “Tell me what you eat and I shall tell you what you are.”  In other words, “What exactly are you eating?  Junk food?  Gourmet?  Exotic? Maybe basic foods cooked in a natural state?  The kind of food you choose to consume is a reflection of the kind of person you are.” (http://jenniferhancox.com/2010/08/you-are-what-you-eat/)

It’s kind of funny in that as I read that description from a food critic’s blog concerning the origins of that saying, I began to think about different people I know and their eating habits, and I could see some real justification to what she wrote!  For me growing up in a 100% Italian family, meal times where always an event!  It was a time you looked forward to for scrumptious food, lively conversation and meaningful fellowship.  I know of many where meal time is just something that you have to do each day! 

I spent the afternoon yesterday working around my folk’s garden in preparation for Spring.  When I was about to leave, I was standing in their kitchen and I noticed how happy my 86 year old mother was as she puttered around the stove preparing their dinner.  Even my dad had a glow in his eyes as he asked my mom what she was preparing!  The upcoming dinner was a big part of their day that they were looking forward to!

Okay, okay… back to the point of today’s blog!  Just as the kind of food (including the manner in which you partake of it) can be said to be a mirror of the kind of person you are, likewise those with whom you spend time with will also be reflected in your attitude, in the way you think and in the way in which you carry yourself.  In plain English… you and I can have our minds renewed by spending regular time with God in His word.  That’s how we allow Him to change the way we think!  As we immerse ourselves in His word we will eventually begin to reason like Him, see things as He sees them and even more importantly, we’ll begin to ACT like Him in our daily lives.  It turns out to be an easy transition, and not something that we have to make happen within our own strength.

God loves us so much that He made it easy for us!  The Bible is the written transcription of who God is.  John 1:1 actually says that the word IS God.  It can’t get much simpler than that.  Like I said before though, the hardest part for us is to make the decision to spend time daily with Him.  Meeting with God in His word first thing in the morning is something that I have done for years.  I can’t imagine not spending time with Him at the beginning of my day.  Even when I had to travel for an hour and a half to be at work by 5:00 in the morning, I made sure that I arose early enough to get at least fifteen minutes with Him!  Then I would meet with Him in His word again at my first break at 7:00 am.

Well, this is getting long, so I’d better let you go and enjoy your weekend.  You can probably tell that this is one of my favorite subjects!  For you know what they say… “You are what you eat!”  And I, just like you I’m sure, want to be like Him!  Stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Do You Comprehend?

I began my study time this morning by reviewing the various translations of the scripture we talked about yesterday in Romans 11:33.  The King James Version tends to accent the wisdom and knowledge of God rather than the expanse of His riches or resources.  While this does not follow in consistency with many of the other translations, it does bring up an idea that captured my attention.  The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary suggest that “Knowledge… points probably to the vast sweep of divine comprehension herein displayed…”  The American Heritage College Dictionary defines comprehension as “The act or fact of grasping the meaning, nature, or importance of; understanding.  The sum of meanings and corresponding implications…”

Now, take a moment and put all those definitions together around the thought of God’s overall view of our lives.  Our heavenly Father posses a vast sweep of divine understanding of the nature and meaning of our lives that goes far beyond the level and scope of our natural understanding. He alone has the complete and commanding view of the sum of all our lives, and retains the wisdom and knowledge of how it all works together within His divine plan for this world.  Simply put, He sees the total picture and how all the intricate pieces of all our lives fit together in the divine scope of things!

Therefore it can only work to our benefit to yield ourselves completely to Him and the truth of His word.  To freely and joyfully let go of our own wills and limited abilities and allow Him to equip and lead us through all our journeys in this life.  To “entrust your ways to the Lord… (and see that) he will act on your behalf.”  (Psalm 37:5 Gods Word © parenthesis mine)  When you really think about it, you have to admit that it makes perfect sense.  He sees all, knows all and loves all.  He can see around the corner that is blocked from our view.  He knows what is on the other side of the mountain or at the end of the trail that we are on.  He knows what the completed puzzle is supposed to look like.  And He knows exactly what resources we need and how to put together whatever chain of events that must occur for it to happen!

So like the chorus from a song by one of my all time favorite Christian groups, The Second Chapter of Acts declares:

“So why should I worry? 
Why should I fret? 
'Cause I've got a Mansion Builder 
Who ain't through with me yet”
 *

You and I are like houses under construction, and our Heavenly Father is the Mansion Builder.  He intimately knows all the specs that are required for us to be built into the strength and design of the blueprint of His entire community plan.  Remember He and He alone holds an overwhelming, all knowing and all understanding comprehension of our past, present and future.  Stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”


  • Mansion Builder – The Second Chapter of Acts - Album released in 1978 by Sparrow Records
  • My wife first heard them perform live as backup singers to the recently saved Barry McGuire (who had previously recorded the popular and quite downcast song “Eve Of Destruction) at a Christian Concert on the campus of Chico State University in 1974.  She bought the album, shared it with me and I was thus forever hooked on contemporary Christian music. (I had been quite a skeptic up to that point!)


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Force To Be Reckoned With!

*  “Oh, how inexhaustible are God’s resources and God’s wisdom and God’s knowledge! How impossible it is to search into His decrees or trace His footsteps!” 

Isn’t it a comforting realization to understand the fact that our Heavenly Father, our very source of light and life, has made available to us His resources that will never come to an end.  He will never experience a recession or a depression. There is never any lack or need.  He is just as strong, able and willing at the end of the month as He is at the beginning.  Deuteronomy 31:6 says that “He will not fail you nor forsake you.”  (Modern King James Version)

As I was studying this fact as declared in Romans 11:33 this morning, I began to think about as to why this is so.  Then the little light in my spirit clicked on and I saw that it is because of His love for us. (Like Duh... right!!)  The Gods Word translation of this verse states that “God’s riches, wisdom and knowledge are so deep that it is impossible to explain his decisions or to understand his ways.”  The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary explains that His ways are “the method by which He carries these (His decisions) into effect.”  His decisions are always led and fed by His love and compassion for His children.  I honestly believe that He meets our needs at times, without even thinking about what He is doing. His overwhelming love just compels Him to respond with His best for us.

A couple of years ago when the full understanding of my wife’s diagnosis came to light, I personally experienced a vivid example of this type of God’s love.  Soon after the information was known, a couple of my wife’s close relatives related their concerns to a mutual friend as well as to a few of our children, that they didn’t know if I would even stay with her in her time of need.  When I heard of this comment I was physically dumbfounded and shocked!  The thought of leaving my wife has never, ever entered into my consciousness.  My only sense of direction has and continues to be on helping her in whatever way, shape or form that I possibly can!   When this comment was repeated once again to our son this last summer, I was incredulous at to how such a thought could even be considered after the forty one plus years that I have been a member of their family!  My devotion, care and concern for the love of my life has always been at the foremost of my thoughts throughout the many years that we have been together.  In fact, I was confiding in my youngest son just last night, that I have been questioning lately if my relationship with my wife has not been of greater emphasis over the years than with that of my relationship with God!

My love and unquestioning commitment to assist her with my best resources (and whatever else is available to us) is a similar example of God’s “everlasting, unchangeable, and invariable love toward His elect in Christ Jesus” (See: John Gill’s commentary on 1John 4:4) God is the very essence of love (I John 4:4) His nature compels Him to assist us when we callout to Him.  When we make mistakes and repent, He is quick to pick us up, brush us off and pour out His love upon us.

This foundational truth of our relationship with God gives me a greater understanding of what Moses meant when he instructed Joshua to “Be strong and courageous!  Do not tremble or be terrified, because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  (Joshua 1:9 Gods Word ©)  God’s inexhaustible resources were at Joshua’s disposal throughout their campaign in the Promised Land.  And if you ever doubt God’s ability or willingness to help you, just look and see the incredible things that He did for Joshua against the overwhelming odds that they faced.  Remember also that, “God does not play favorites” and “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Acts 10:34 & Hebrews 13:8 Gods Word ©)

I would encourage you to begin to dwell on the truth of God’s inexhaustible resources, wisdom and knowledge that He has for you.  The regular experience of this phenomenon will cause you to walk in your promised land as Joshua did thousands of years ago.  In your daily walk you will come to realize that “No weapon formed against thee shall prosper.” (Isaiah 54:17 KJV)  You will discover yourself to not only be a force of His power and more importantly of His love to be reckoned with, but also a blessing going somewhere to happen!  Stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”


Romans 11:33 - 1912 Weymouth New Testament