Things That Go Bump In The Night (or Day)

BIBLE READING: 1 Tim. 5: 3 - 7 3 Take care of any widow who has no one else to care for her. 4 But if she has children or grandchildren, their first responsibility is to show godliness at home and repay their parents by taking care of them. This is something that pleases God. 5 Now a true widow, a woman who is truly alone in this world, has placed her hope in God. She prays night and day, asking God for his help. 6 But the widow who lives only for pleasure is spiritually dead even while she lives. 7 Give these instructions to the church so that no one will be open to criticism.

What does this passage mean to you today? 

BLOG: So my daughters birthday was last month, and someone got her some helium balloons that say, "Happy Birthday" on them. One of them made it home, but the other one got away, in my wife's office. It floated to the top of the 12-foot ceiling, nestled itself in the corner there to be out of sight. 

Well, a few days ago, I kept hearing this noise from her office — specifically, the bookshelves in the corner. I kept going in there looking for whatever it was. A mouse? A lizard? What was it? This went on for days. I kept looking and finding nothing. I was at the point of thinking there was some imp in there just irritating me. 

Then my wife confessed to me the other day that she heard it (good it wasn't just me). She hunted for that noise for an hour then she figured it out. It was the ballon. A month later and the thing is still there rustling every time the air conditioner came on. Was I embarrassed. 

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Fear is a lot like that ballon. It will not hurt you but irritate you just enough to drive you crazy. (Believe me, I spent a lot of time in those bookshelves.) 

God isn't hiding in the corner or waiting to jump out at you and say, "Boo!" God is with you every day, every moment in every situation. 

If I had just looked up, I would have solved my problem a long time ago and found that ballon. If you look up, you will see the solution to your fears. 

DEAR JESUS: I am looking up at You. AMEN 

What Do You Drive?

BIBLE READING: 1 Timothy 5: 1 - 2 1 Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers. 2 Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.

Take a moment and reflect on 1 Timothy 5: 1 - 2.  What does this mean to you?

BLOG: I learned to drive a manuel stick shift on a dump truck.  Much like the one that is pictured above.  While I learned to use the low gears for pulling large loads and how to "double clutch" these skills didn't apply to a Honda Hatchback or Volkswagon Beatle.  If I tried to drive those small cars, I would almost burn the clutch up.

My point?  The shifts that God is leading you through are nothting like the ones He's leading me through.  I can look back on my life now and see things that God allowed me to go through that were for today.  I would guess that you can see some of those things too.

John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

Jesus' ministry made it obivous to us that God is always preparing us for something new and different.  Did the 12 disciples ever think that they were going to speak in other tongues and become the foundation of what we call the Church today?  I don't think they had a clue.  

God will lead you life through a series of changes (shifts) that have a bigger vision in mind.  Maybe you know what that is, maybe you don't.  But it is our desire and responsibility to follow the Holy Spirit and expect great things. 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, lead me to see and understand Your vision for my life today.  AMEN  

Getting A Rolling Start

BIBLE READING: 1 Timothy 4: 14 - 16 14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. 15 Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.

BLOG: I have been speaking to how God "shifts" our lives. Much like you shift a standard transmission, God will shift your life to the next level He has planned for you. 

Romans 12:1-2  I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

I spent most of the summer studying the book of Romans. What a powerful book that can change your life. But through it, I see Paul leading the church through a series of shifts. These shifts were designed to move them from their selfish ambition to being selfless followers of Jesus who loved one another. 

In the book of Acts, as I pointed out Sunday, the Holy Spirit leads the church through a series of shifts that transforms them from a localized Jewish cult to a worldwide phenomenon of faith. 

But before you can shift you've got to get started. 

So if you have never driven a stick shift before, let me describe how it works. Put your foot on the clutch, which puts the car in neutral, your other foot on the brake, so it doesn't roll away, and start the vehicle. Shift the car into 1st gear, and simultaneously let out the clutch while giving it a little gas. Then as you hear the engine wind up faster and faster, it will be time to shift. Clutch in, foot off the gas, shift, clutch out and foot on the gas. No, it isn't easy, and yes, it takes practice. 

But someone asked me Sunday, "What if you stall out? What do you do?" 

First of all, DON'T STOP! You've got momentum, use it to your favor. If God is doing a work in your life to transform you, don't give up just because you missed a gear. 

Clutch in. Put the car in neutral but don't hit the brake. Don't fret over stalling out and don't roll to a stop. You may need to forgive yourself for something you did or ask forgiveness from God. 

Put it in gear and let the clutch out quickly. The car will jump, but the engine will turn over and start. Pretty? No. Keeping your momentum is the goal here. How do you get a rolling start? 

Examine your spiritual habits and ask yourself if you have slacked off on any of them? If you have, reengage them now. 

Prayer and Fasting works. Need to get things going now? Pray and fast about it. Fasting has an incredible impact on the inner man. 

Ask for help. Talk to a spiritual mentor or join a small group. Other people have been where you are at. Learn from them. 

PRAY: Dear Jesus, help me to keep my momentum and growing in my relationship with You. AMEN 

In Uncertain Times

BIBLE READING: 1 Timothy 4: 11 - 13 11 Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them. 12 Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 13 Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.

BLOG: There is talk of a recession. Iran allegedly bombed Saudi oil facilities driving our gas prices up. We are entering another mud-slinging election cycle — trade wars with China and more. Times are uncertain. 

Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

When we hear bad news, we react. But should we? I'm not saying that one should deny the reality of their situation. But rather than retreat or lash out in anger, what else could we do? 

Praise God that He is still on the throne. That there is nothing that will separate us from His love. 

Remember that He knows what is going to happen and has already made provision for it. Jehovah-Jireh

Pray for your situations, don't let your anger win the day. 

Don't retreat - go forward. Often we cut back on our giving out of fear of what might happen. God will always be your provider, regardless. Faithfulness will still be honored. 

PRAY: Dear Jesus, don't allow the world to scare me. I want to put my full trust and faith in You. AMEN 

A Good Cup of Joe

BIBLE READING: 1 Timothy 4:6 - 10 6 If you explain these things to the brothers and sisters, Timothy, you will be a worthy servant of Christ Jesus, one who is nourished by the message of faith and the good teaching you have followed. 7 Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives' tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. 8 "Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come." 9 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. 10 This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.

BLOG: I have always enjoyed a good cup of coffee. I'm not as snobbish as some are, but I have to say I've don't like bad, weak, swill (I mean coffee.) Now I don't drink it like I used to, thank you kidney stones, but I still have a few cups every day. Each cup means something. 

I have my first cup with my morning devotions. My second cup as soon as I get to work. Then another cup after lunch. I am drinking that one right now. 

What's my point? Each cup represents something that I do every day. The first cup slows me down to consider what I am praying about. What am I reading from God's Word.  

My second cup makes me stop and center my day before life happens. 

The third up forces me to stop for a few minutes and breathe. I'm half-way through my day, and I need to take a "coffee break." 

Titus 2:7, NKJV. "In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility."

A pattern of good works. Develop good habits that help you keep the faith, be productive, and stop too, "smell the roses." If you choose good habits, you'll automatically reject the bad habits that will ruin your life. 

PRAY: Dear Jesus, help me to develop the good habits that my life needs to honor You. AMEN 

What Is God Up To?

BIBLE READING: 1 Timothy 4:1-5, 1 Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. 2 These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead. 3 They will say it is wrong to be married and wrong to eat certain foods. But God created those foods to be eaten with thanks by faithful people who know the truth. 4 Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks. 5 For we know it is made acceptable by the word of God and prayer. NLT

BLOG: I've said it, I've heard others say it, I suspect that you've said it. "What is God up to?" 

The range of emotions that comes with that question can run the gambit. I've said it out of frustration, and I have said it out of curiosity. But the answer to the question isn't as elusive as you might think. 

All one has to do is look at the character of God. Who is He? 

God is Self-sufficient. He doesn't need us, but He wants to be a part of our lives. Acts 17:25

God is Eternal. He has always been, and He will always be. Psalm 90:2 Time does not affect Him whatsoever. 

God is good. Romans 11:22 Some see this as the one part of His character that overshadows all others. With it comes kindness, love, grace, mercy, and patience. Because of His goodness, He always has His best intentions in mind for you. 

God is Graciousness. We are the recipients of His undeserving favor. It is because of His grace that we can be saved from our sins. 1 Peter 2:2-3

God is Holy. He is separate from sin. Isaiah 6:3 The sin that we struggle with doesn't affect Him. 

God is here. God isn't removed from your life, nor is He distracted from it. He knows what is happening even when others don't. Acts 17:28

God cannot change. James 1:17 His consistency is a source of comfort to us. A God who is kind to us today will be a God who is good to us tomorrow. Promise. 

God is Spirit. John 4:24, the limitation of our frail bodies, and this world have no impact on God's ability to answer our prayers or care for our needs. 

God is a Jealous God. Exodus 20:5-6, God will protect His relationship with you. His love for you is so great. He will fight for you. 

God is Love 1 John 4:8;16 says it. John 3:16, "God so loves the world . . . "It is His love for you that moves Him to have a relationship with you. 

God is Omnipotent Matthew 19:26, God is "all-powerful." 
God is Omnipresent. Psalm 139:8, God is everywhere all the time. 
God is Omniscient Romans 16:27 God is "all-knowing"

The Providence of God. Acts 17:25 He is always working in your life, even when you don't know it. 

God is Righteousness. Romans 1:17, God has entered into the New Covenant with you. His promises are true, and He will be faithful to them and you too. 

God is Sovereign. God is in complete control as he directs all things. No one can stop God from doing His will. Isaiah 46:10

Now you know what God is up to right now. 

PRAY: Dear Jesus, I praise You for who You are, and may I find hope and comfort in knowing You. AMEN