BIBLE READING: 1 Thessalonians‬ ‭2:4 - 6 4 For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts. 5 Never once did we try to win you with flattery, as you well know. And God is our witness that we were not pretending to be your friends just to get your money! 6 As for human praise, we have never sought it from you or anyone else.

BLOG: I like to go out to the range and shoot some targets. I find it quite relaxing and challenging. Especially when I'm shooting at 50 yards with a rifle. 

That's what I was doing one day with a friend of mine. We were taking turns adjusting our sites so we could hit the center of the target every time. But the longer I worked on mine, the worse it got. It didn't matter if I adjusted to the left or right, up or down, it would not work. I was about to throw my rifle out on the ground and give up when it happened. 

I touched the scope and noticed that it was loose. I mean loose. Now you might ask, "Well, how loose was it?" Probably about 1/8 of an inch. (That's 3.175 mm for those of you outside of the country.) What's the big deal? If I am aiming at the center of the target, I would be off by 10 inches or more. It didn't matter how I focused on the scope or adjusted the sights. I was never going to hit the mark. 

1 Corinthians 3:11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

All of us want to hit the mark, be successful (aka not be a failure). But if the foundation of our life is loose, then we can't hit the mark. You can see it, you can do everything right, but the report back will always be - "Miss!" 

What do you do? 

Get back to basics. How's your prayer life? Are you a part of a community, small group, that care about you? Do you go to church most Sunday's? 

Don't get in a hurry. Everyone is in a hurry. But it's those who take the time to grow in a relationship with Christ that hit the mark. 

Be Patient. Sounds like the one above, but no. Everything has to come together. If you try to force the situation, you'll miss. Let God's timing be your timing. 

Breathe. Are you holding your breath waiting for the perfect moment? You'll pass out. Are you huffing and puffing because you're trying to make everything work out? You'll pass out! Pace yourself and let God lead you. Don't force it. 

Understand your weaknesses and strengths. Everyone has them. It seems some ignore their weaknesses because they think it makes them look weak. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It just makes you look normal. Don't be ashamed to say, "I can't do that." 

PRAY: Dear Jesus, help me to hit the target in such a way as to honor You! AMEN 

Fall Off Your Bike

BIBLE READING: 1 Thessalonians‬ ‭2:1-3  “You yourselves know, dear brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not a failure. You know how badly we had been treated at Philippi just before we came to you and how much we suffered there. Yet our God gave us the courage to declare his Good News to you boldly, in spite of great opposition. So you can see we were not preaching with any deceit or impure motives or trickery.”  NLT‬‬

BLOG: When I was a kid I had, what I thought, was the coolest bike on the block.  All the other kids wanted to ride my bike.  Problem was, I couldn’t get the training wheels off.  I tried and tried but to no avail.  I couldn’t ride a bike.  My mom helped me.  My dad tried, until he was exhausted.  In the end I just kept trying.  I skinned my knees, my knuckles, and elbows.  I fell in the dirt, on concrete, on pavement and the ever so painful gravel.  I even ended up in the bushes once.  OUCH!

But one day I all of a sudden got it.  I couldn't tell you what happened or how it happened.  I started yelling for my mom to come and see. She ran out and with great relief on her face said, “Finally!”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

I know that some days you feel like me trying to ride a bicycle.  You get up only to fall down.  You try to think the best about people.  You try to love them.  You try not to get angry with some of their antics.  You try to pray and read your Bible.  But some days you look like a lanky teenage boy who has kissed the dirt one to many times.

Don’t give up.  Little by little you will gain ground.  But only if you do one thing.  Do it for your future, not for you perfection.  If you do this for yourself you will boast about how “holy” and “good” that you are.  Do it for things unseen.  The things that cannot be labeled or things that would make you popular.  Do it to strengthen your spirit and draw you closer to Christ.

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I fall down a lot.  Help me stand up.  AMEN.

What's Next?

BIBLE READING: 1 Thess 1: 8 - 10 8 And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don't need to tell them about it, 9 for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true God. 10 And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God's Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment.  NLT

BLOG: What's Next? 

It's Sunday afternoon, and you're probably close to a carb coma from lunch. You're home from church, feet up and about to take a nap. But what's next? 

This morning, you were probably challenged in some way. The worship was excellent, the prayer time was awesome, and the message had a point. A point that should make you go, Hmmmmm. So what's next? 

How are you going to change? Specifically, how are you going to be more like Jesus today? 

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Everyone who says that they are a follower of Jesus needs to understand where He is leading them. Closer! Closer to Him! The closer we get to Christ, the more we become like Him. This requires us to be less like "us." You know, the part that doesn't act like or think like a follower of Jesus. You know, the part that gets us into more trouble than we are worth? 

That's why I want to ask you, "What's Next?" What are you going to do today that will help you have a closer relationship with Christ? 

PRAY: Dear Jesus, I want to have a closer relationship with You. Show me what to do. Amen. 

Yes, you can do this.

BIBLE READING:  1 Thess 1: 4 - 7 4 We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people. 5  For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true. And you know of our concern for you from the way we lived when we were with you. 6 So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord. 7 As a result, you have become an example to all the believers in Greece—throughout both Macedonia and Achaia.

BLOG:  Yes, you can do this.  

Have you ever had to face a difficult time or situation in your life?  We all have to one extent or another.  Today I heard about a broken friendship, a terminal illness, a difficult decision, and a broken heart.  It can be exhausting but for one thing.  Love.  

Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another.”
Here are a few truths you need to embrace. 

Your "everything" may not be enough.  But it wasn't supposed to be.  Jesus said that He will save people, you don't have to.  

While it is tempting to close the door of your heart to others, keeping it open will actually be a blessing.  It's tough, but not impossible. 

Your "hope" is in Jesus not in your results.  You and I are not perfect, therefore, we cannot manufacture real hope.  

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I need your help to face some tough times.  Help me!  AMEN  

Don't Give Up

BIBLE READING: 1 Thessalonians 1: 1-2, 1 This letter is from Paul, Silas, and Timothy. We are writing to the church in Thessalonica, to you who belong to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. May God give you grace and peace. 2 We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. 3 As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ.

BLOG: Pro. 18:13 If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.

I have long said that making assumptions is disastrous. Often you don't know what you are talking about, and thus you cannot make the right decisions. I have made more than my share of bad decisions based on my assumptions. 

One way I see people self destruct with their assumptions is in regards to their future. 

I'm not going to get that promotion because the boss likes my co-worker better. 
My spouse is going to leave me because they don't pay attention to me anymore. 
I can't get a job because nobody likes me. 
I did something stupid now everyone is going to disown me. 
There is no reason for me to do my best; it doesn't matter; they have already made up their mind. 

These are over-generalizations and assumptions. Sure, there may be some truth in those statements. But that's no reason to give up or not do your best. 

So, what do you do? 

Remember that your future in God's hands. Regardless of how things turn out. God is still in control. 
Rejection isn't a reason to quit. It is a reason to try again. Ask Isaac about digging wells. 
One closed door may open a better one. A "no" can become a better "yes."
Stop being a fortune teller. Don't assume things about your future that lead you to give up. Believe that God is in your future and be faithful to honor Him today and tomorrow. 

PRAY: Dear Jesus, You've got my future in Your hands. Lead me, and I will trust You. AMEN 

A Little Busy?

BIBLE READING: Col: 4: 14 - 18 14 Luke, the beloved doctor, sends his greetings, and so does Demas. 15 Please give my greetings to our brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church that meets in her house. 16 After you have read this letter, pass it on to the church at Laodicea so they can read it, too. And you should read the letter I wrote to them. 17 And say to Archippus, "Be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave you." 18 Here is my greeting in my own handwriting—Paul. Remember my chains. May God's grace be with you.

BLOG: Each of us is probably going to have a hectic day. Even if you don't plan to have one - WHAM! Then life comes and visits you. A flat tire, traffic jam, a family emergency, or something else.

You may be worrying about what is going to happen today? Are you going to make it to work on time? How's the teachers meeting going to pan out? What is my boss going to say?

Matthew 6:34 "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

Some people take Jesus' words here to mean, "Don't sweat the small stuff." But in fact what He is saying is don't worry about what is going to happen, take care to protect yourself from evil. The real trouble you need to be focusing on is being ready to face temptation and opportunities to disregard Christ.

What happens to us every day doesn't have any impact on our eternal life. But how we react to these events does. God will take care of us. That very passage promises that. But focus on honoring God with a lifestyle of worship. Take care to guard your heart and honor Christ.

PRAY: Dear Jesus, keep me from temptation and deliever me from the evil one. AMEN