God's Word is Powerful

God's Word is Powerful

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Whenever I sit down to pay the bills - there is always a sense of hope that maybe there will be a little more left over this time.  Paying bills is one of my least favorite things to do.  But it is also a constant reminder that I need to be careful HOW I spend the resources we have.  It is so easy in our culture to simply throw it on the credit card and if we can't pay it off when that bill is due we merely let it ride.  Part of the problem is that we do not want to say NO to ourselves.  We would rather say yes and then deal with the economic consequences later.  That is why these verses are such a challenge.  Because even as I struggle to pay bills I understand that I have so much more than most believers in the world.

1 Timothy 6.17-19 (NLT)  Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. [18] Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. [19] By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.

Wealth, riches there is very real DANGER in having more than you need.  It is so easy to slip into thinking you are the reason that financially you are doing well.  Paul addresses that by warning the rich NOT to become arrogant and TRUST their money - INSTEAD they must trust God.  After all it is God who gives us ALL we NEED for our enjoyment.  The implication in that is that if I do not have enough money to get the latest gadget or toy or laborsaving device then I don't need it.  I am supposed to remember that God has given me what HE knows I need for enjoyment.  That may require me thinking through more carefully the things that I enjoy.

Paul goes on to say that they should USE or INVEST what God has given to them. They are supposed to be doing good with the resources that God has entrusted to them.  They should be generous and ready and WILLING to share with others. 

The Last reminder is for us to see that this world is temporary and that ALL that we have here cannot compare to the wonder of heaven.  It is a reminder that this life is NOT all that there is.  
I Love these quotes - great reminders of the DANGER in pursuing wealth.

"Be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share. No matter how much money you have, your life should demonstrate that God controls the wealth that He has placed under your care." NLT Notes

“Though riches come, and riches go, don't set your heart upon them.  The fields of hope in which I sow  are harvested in heaven.” A Keys

PRAYER: Lord God help me to see clearly ALL the different ways that You have blessed me so that I can fully enjoy them.  Help me to think more about how to be generous and share with others than about how I can accumulate more stuff. Help me Lord to see that this life is an investment NOT for here but for Eternity.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014


So the news was NOT what I wanted to hear.  I wanted the Doctor to say you can stop wearing the boot and resume normal activities.  Instead I heard think LONG TERM - months not weeks.  And I had such good plans - none of which included being forced to wear a brace or boot long term.  What do we do when we get bad news?  How do we handle serious disappointment?  Yes I KNOW God uses hard things - hard times - to strengthen us, shape us, and form us more and more into the image of Jesus Christ.  But.......  I have said for years the phrase "it is what it is" as a statement that some things you just cannot change. But too many times - for me - that has become a statement of fatalism... oh well I cannot do anything about it so I have to accept it.  Those were some of my thoughts before I read these verses.

1 Thessalonians 2.16-17 (NLT)  Now may OUR Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God OUR Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, COMFORT you and STRENGTHEN you in every good thing you DO and SAY.

After I read these verses today - I had to stop and confess. I have been complaining and by my complaints (subtle as they may have been - being expressed mostly in my thoughts) I have been questioning God’s plan for me.  But these verses remind me that MY God gives Grace and Eternal Comfort, and WONDERFUL HOPE.  Not because the circumstances have changed or gotten better from MY perspective.  But because He gives Comfort and Strength each and everyday. He gives the ability to DO and SAY good things no matter what the circumstances may be.  The question is will I look for those GOOD things that He wants me to do?  Will I seek out ways to SAY those GOOD words that need to be said?  Because the comfort and strength He promised seem to be connected to a willingness to DO and SAY the good things to which He calls us. 

So instead of saying "it is what it is" maybe I need to start saying "God KNOWS what He is doing."  I certainly believe that on a biblical and theological level.  But I need to believe it on the everyday - I have to wear this brace for an extended period of time - level. 

PRAYER: Lord, God thank you for Your comfort and strength especially during hard and challenging times.  Lord all that I am going through comes from Your hand for a good purpose.  Please help me to keep in mind ALWAYS that no matter what is happening I can still DO and SAY good God Honoring things.  May I hang onto the TRUTH that YOU KNOW what You are doing

Friday, March 28, 2014


If you have ever felt totally alone - you know it is a very hard and difficult thing to go through. When I was a single missionary many years ago there were periods of time when I felt completely alone.  I was in a city of over a million people - but there was no one with whom I could share my fears or longings.  The danger for me was to become self-focused and to think only of my self.  Becoming self-focused NEVER helped me grow in my walk with Jesus or help me to love and serve others. 

I wonder what it was like for Paul alone in that Roman prison at the end of his life...

 2 Timothy 4:16 (NIV) At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them.  

NO ONE came to my support...  everyone deserted me...
I can certainly FEEL the depth of what Paul is saying.  He was left entirely on his own with no support - where were the Christians from the church in Rome?  How does Paul respond?
May it not be held against them...    What?  That is the last thing I expected to hear from Pau; - No One came... Everyone deserted me...  BUT Lord God please do not hold this against them. What an example of how to pray for others even those who wronged us or who have hurt us. 

2 Timothy 4:17 (NIV) But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion's mouth.

NO ONE came...everyone deserted me...BUT the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength...
What an amazing testimony to each of us who are struggling.  This is what we must do especially when we FEEL like we are ALONE.  We must remember we are NEVER ALONE. The Lord the Sovereign God of the universe is ALWAYS with us He is right there at our side.  And just as Paul trusted God for His presence and strength - we too can know that the Lord WILL give us His STRENGTH if we turn to Him when we are lonely, feel abandoned, or feel full of fear and doubt. 

2 Timothy 4:18 (NIV) The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

We do not know for sure - but it is possible that Paul was eventually executed at the end of this imprisonment in Rome.  That is why these words are so powerful The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack... HOW? He was convinced that his future was secure he was trusting God to ...bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. Whether set free to continue to serve the Lord or being executed for the gospel Paul saw the Lord’s hand in ALL of it and was counting on the Lord to STAND by him and to give him strength.

PRAYER:  Lord God - thank You that You are ALWAYS with me whether I feel alone or not YOU are there.  Please Lord help me to grab onto that TRUTH and never let go.  Lord when I struggle and I am tempted to focus my thoughts on myself HELP me to look to You - to Trust You - and to keep on loving and serving others.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


NO Sunday Services... Not some thing I enjoy saying or doing. From a selfish perspective it means doing a lot of things to get the word out (changing voice mail messages, sending - emails, Facebook messages, and text messages). However, the hardest part is wondering if this is the right decision... should we try to meet anyway?  Is it going to be as bad as they say?  What about the ice in the parking lot?  At some point a decision has to be made and then you live with it.  But I do miss meeting together... there is something precious about God's people gathering to honor and worship Him as well as encourage and serve each other. 

As I thought about that this morning I thought about several friends of mine who live and work in very dangerous - closed countries.  They are there for the sake of the Gospel - they are there because they long for others to know Jesus.  So they risk their lives and families everyday.  Many of them CANNOT meet with other Christians especially openly. So as I read the next chapter in my normal reading today these verses took on new meaning for me:

2 Corinthians 4:11-13 (NLT)  Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. [12]  So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you. [13]  But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.”

Paul’s situation was so dangerous that he said we FACE DEATH everyday WHY? For one reason - that others may know Jesus and have eternal life.  These verse reminded me of Carol’s nephew who was killed last year because he was living and working openly as a Christian in a close country.  His deepest desire was to see young men and women become disciples of Jesus Christ. 

2 Corinthians 4:15-18 (NLT)  All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. [16]  That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. [17] For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! [18]  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Why would you take your wife and children into dangerous place to live and work?  Paul said he did it for the BENEFIT of those who had NOT yet experienced God’s grace.  He said He would NEVER give up no matter what he was facing no matter what the hardship may be.  WHY?  He saw that the painful present struggles would be overshadowed by the wonder and glory of the gospel the joy of seeing people’s lives changed for ALL eternity.  So we FIX OUR GAZE - or focus - NOT on the hardship or the painful struggle - but on the things that CANNOT be seen... on eternity and our Lord Jesus.  As we do God WILL Receive More and More Glory and that is what it is all about. 

NOT BEING ABLE TO MEET... what would that really be like.. Not just the roads are slippery... or I'm too tired... or it is too much hassle to get ready and go.  But if I meet with other believers I will be in DANGER.  Some of my friends would do anything to be able to be at a Sunday service with other Christians.  But the best they can expect is to quietly carefully worship with their family praying for the day when there will be MANY Believers because of their sacrifice.

PRAYER: Lord God, help me NEVER to take for granted the wonderful privilege of worshipping YOU with others - free from fear of any kind.  Please Lord encourage and strengthen my Brothers and Sisters who are in real danger everyday because they are Serving You.  Please LORD help them see the REALITY that what they do WILL have Eternal Results.