It Doesn’t Matter

BIBLE READING: 2 Tim. 2:11-13 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.”
What does this passage mean to you?

BLOG:  It’s the end of the day and as I sit here I recall how the day went.

One part of me thought, “Wow!  You got a lot done today.”  But another part of me said, “But you didn’t get enough done today.”  I don’t know if you have those kind of thoughts, but as I finish the day I have to choose.  And the winner is . . . . . . . Neither!

It doesn’t matter.

Psalms‬ ‭121:3-4‬  “He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”
God is watching over you and me 24/7.  He will never ignore you or nod off, not even for a second.

What matters to me right now is that as I get ready for bed, my God is watching over me and my family.  What I did or didn’t do today doesn’t matter, who will think of these things 6 years from now?  No one.  But 6 years from now I will be thinking how my God has been faithful to watch over and care for me each and every day.

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I’m not going to stress over today, I am going to be thankful for what You are going to do in my life.  AMEN.

To Tired To Pull - Ugh!

BIBLE READING: 2 Tim 2: 8 - 10  8 Always remember that Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead. This is the Good News I preach. 9 And because I preach this Good News, I am suffering and have been chained like a criminal. But the word of God cannot be chained. 10 So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen.

What does this passage mean to you today? 

BLOG: It's 3:18 on Monday afternoon, and I am still trying to get my brain to work. Food, sugar, caffeine, even a blast of cold air hasn't made a difference. I'm just tired. 

But this is typical for most Mondays for me. After a big weekend of ministry, the body says, "That's it, I'm done." 

Rest is a crucial part of our lives. It gives us strength, sharpens our minds and helps us to be healthy. I can tell the difference between 6 hours and 8 hours sleep. 

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Ever been spiritually exhausted? Paul tells us in Galatians to not become weary in doing good stuff. But Jesus was speaking to a people who were just exhausted from trying to do everything the religious leaders of the day were teaching. They were weary. 

Jesus said that if they followed Him - His standards would be less stressful and more rewarding. The "yoke" that they would pull wouldn't be impossible. Everyone pulls a yoke. (A yoke is a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of animals so they can pull a plow or cart.) Some people pull the weight of the world. Others pull the weight of their family's needs. With all of this weight we pull, is it no wonder that people look at the church and say, "Nope, I can't do it." 

But what Jesus was teaching is different. He doesn't want you to pull all that stuff. Just follow Him, and He will do all the heavy lifting for you. 

He doesn't want you to see your faith in Him as being another "weight" to pull. He wants you to understand that He is right there with you. He is helping you every step of the way. Don't try to do it all on your own. Find rest for your soul 

PRAY: Dear Jesus, I'm laying down my heave yoke and picking up yours instead. AMEN 

Do You Have A Plan? Better Do It NOW!

BIBLE READING: 2 Tim 2: 3 - 7 3 Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 Soldiers don't get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. 5 And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. 6 And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. 7 Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things.

What does this passage mean to you? 

BLOG: It's Sunday afternoon, and you're probably settling into your Sunday afternoon routine. But I am going to challenge you to do something a little different today. 

Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.

I've read this passage many, many times but never saw it in this light before. 

Always use wisdom when dealing with the world, walk-in integrity, and don't allow their culture to be your culture. You walk with Christ; therefore, live your life in such a way as they recognize His character in how you spend your time. 

Then Paul goes on to say, making the best use of the time. In other words, have a plan on how you are going to spend your time and do it in such a way as to honor Christ. 

Time is the greatest asset you have. You can do anything with it, but you can waste it too. What are you going to do with your time this week? 

Plan your week, not your day. Sit down and write down everything you need to do for the next seven days. After you do that, ask yourself, "Can I do this in 7 days?" Most likely, no. Now it is time to prioritze. Don't forget to plan on 8 hours of sleep a night (if you can.) 

Did you include God in that plan? Build into your schedule time in the Word and prayer. That would be the first thing in the morning. 

Protect your time. There are thousands of time steals nipping at your asset. Everything from the "ding" on your phone begging you to look at it to a pushy salesperson who keeps calling. Turn notifications off on your phone (if it is bugging you) and learn how to use voicemail. 

What BIG thing do you want to do this week? Repair a relationship? Write a family budget? Spend some quality time with someone? Put it in the plan! 

PRAY: Dear Jesus, help me to use the time You have given me wisely. AMEN 

3 Ways To Protect Your Tomorrow

BIBLE READING: 2 Tim. 2: 1 - 2 1 Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. 2 You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.

What does this passage mean to you today? 

BLOG: Hebrews 10:25  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

I know that I have shared this verse before, but it reflects the essential habits that we are to practice. 

. . . not neglecting to meet together - There were churches in the New Testament that worshipped on Sunday. We can see from Acts 2 that there were small groups of people who met in their homes for fellowship, care, prayer, worship, and growing in their faith. 

. . . encouraging one another - What did they do at church? Encourage one another. Imagine a group of believers who loved each other enough to speak life and hope to one another. They would pray for each other. They would use whatever gifts they had, natural and supernatural, to build each other up. They would invest their lives into each other all because of love. What would the church be like if we did that? 

 and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. - But why would they do that? Because Jesus is coming soon. The church worked hard to encourage each other to specific goals. One of which was, "You're going to make it to heaven! We're going to help you get there!" Couple that with their missional mindset to bring people to faith in Christ and WOW! 

So tomorrow (or today) is Sunday, and if there is one thing that I know, it is this. Satan doesn't want you in an encouraging mindset. What can you do to protect yourself from wasting an excellent service? 

Don't let the sun go down on your anger.  Eph 4:26 If something is upsetting you so much that you know you're going to wake up with it. Deal with it before you go to sleep. 

Don't let stress ruin your day.  Getting ready, traffic, and a host of other obstacles can get in your way. Don't let them ruin your attitude. 

Set a goal and go for it.  So what do you want to do in church? Be encouraging? Worship God as you have never worshipped Him before? Tell someone that you believe in them and that you are there for them? What are you going to do differently in church? 

PRAY: Dear Jesus, I want this Sunday to be like none other. Help me to be encouraging to others. AMEN 

When God Shows Off

BIBLE READING: 2 Tim 1: 15 - 18 15 As you know, everyone from the province of Asia has deserted me—even Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 May the Lord show special kindness to Onesiphorus and all his family because he often visited and encouraged me. He was never ashamed of me because I was in chains. 17 When he came to Rome, he searched everywhere until he found me. 18 May the Lord show him special kindness on the day of Christ's return. And you know very well how helpful he was in Ephesus.

What does the passage mean to you? 

BLOG: So I'm not going to steal someone's story about how God did a GREAT thing for them today. That would be rude. But I do believe that God likes to show off. 

Luke 12:22-26 22 And he said to his disciples, "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?

So much of our lives are set on auto-pilot; we tend to be shocked when something goes wrong. 

But God does. 

We have no idea what He has done on our behalf during the day. We don't know what tragedy He adverted or pain He saved us from. But when our average day goes wrong, we act surprised and even a bit dismayed. We ask, "Why God why?" 

Isn't the God you trust when everything is going well the same God you trust when it isn't? What is happening to us right now doesn't determine who God is, His character and attributes tell us who He is. That's the part that is so good. When His love intervenes in our lives, we see miracles, healings, and more. The power of God on display just for us. 

He is our God who loves us very, very much. 

So what do you do when God shows off? 

Worship Him. Sincere heartfelt, "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" would be a great place to start. But express your love and appreaction to Him for His intervention.  

Tell Someone. Don't keep it a secret. "But, Pastor, people will think I'm nuts!" Maybe, but God doesn't think that you're crazy. 

Let It Build Your Faith In Him. If I were you, I would get a journal, and every time God shows off - write it down. Every time you think that God has given up on you or your trust in Him wavers, pull it out and read. God never fails. 

PRAY: Dear Jesus, I love you, and I know that You love me. Thank you, thank you, thank you. AMEN 

3 Ways To Worship Better!

BIBLE READING: 2 Tim 1: 12 - 14 12 That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return. 13 Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. 14 Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.

What does this passage mean to you? 

BLOG: Psalm 95:6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

Worship is a noun "the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity." It is also a verb, 
"show reverence and adoration for (a deity); honor with religious rites." What does this mean? 

Worship is your attitude and your action. You can have a worshipful attitude but fail to take any action on it. Some people go through the motions of worship, but their attitude isn't very honoring. 

Another definition I've heard is that worship is giving anything that rightfully belongs to God. That could be your time, money, heart, lifestyle, and more. In contrast, giving those things to anything else would, therefore, be idolatry. 

I know that one's life is a reflection of one's worship. In other words, who or what you worship will be evident in your life. How we honor God with our lives is an act of worship. How we love others is an act of worship. So here are three things that you can do to improve your worship. 

Focus! So often, worship is treated as an event. Something it is what you do to score points with God. When the "event' is over, so is the worship. Focus on worshipping God 24/7. That's right; examine everything that you do through the filter of, "Is this honoring God in some way." 

Give! It is the opinion of the world that the church asks "too much" from people. But the Bible is clear; we are to give everything to God as an act of worship. (Romans 21:1, for example.) Give time to God and allow Him to pour Himself into your life every day. Give to someone who needs to experience the compassion of Christ in a real way. Give your time to someone who needs to know or experience Christ through the gifts God has blessed you with.

Recieve! Noting that the world says we ask too much from people, they never notice what these "givers" receive. We receive God's blessing, His love, hope, and peace. There is the joy of the Lord, which is a source of strength. There is knowing He is has provided for our eternity and that we need neither fear man, hell, or death. 

Worship is a very important and powerful part of our faith that we should practice in heart and action every day. 

What are you going to do today to worship Him? 

PRAY: Dear Jesus, teach me to worship you with all my heart, soul, and spirit. AMEN