My Prayer for Today

Today, I am praying for courage and greater compassion. I pray to be peace in the face of loud, rampant shouts for war and violence. I pray to faithfully and obediently follow the Word of God; to bring hope and healing. I am praying for new global leadership that is compassionate and has vision. And, I pray that we will be a more humble people, who confess our sins, pray, seek God’s face, and turn away from wickedness, so that God’s promise to Solomon will be fulfilled in our time; that God will hear our prayers, forgive our mistakes, and heal our land. Amen.

In The Bonds of Calvary,

You’ve Got To Do Something About This

I saw a feature on TV the other day in which several women had lost tremendous amounts of weight. In every case, they said that something finally snapped in their brain. There was an inner voice that told them they couldn’t continue to go on the way they were, seeking solace in food, ignoring the signs of a very unhealthy lifestyle. One day, each of the women said, something – some inner impulse – triggered a response in them that said, “You’ve got to do something about this.” And they did.

 I do believe there comes a point in one’s spiritual journey when you have to look in the mirror and confront who you really are, to listen for the voice that says, “You’ve got to do something about this.”

Lord, there comes a time in life when we must make a choice.

If that time is now for me, give me the courage to make it… like the Samaritan did,

like Jesus did.

In the Bonds of Calvary,

God Is Still God!

I read the story of a missionary who had been in China for over 50 years and was forced to flee when the Japanese invaded. Much of the missionary’s work had been with orphans and the thought of leaving them behind was too much. So over one hundred orphans were rounded up and led through the war zones of China. 

On one particular occasion, when things looked hopeless and the odds of reaching Free China alive were all but gone, the missionary was faced with the task of trying to communicate that message to the orphans. 

While trying to explain the situation, a 13-year-old girl reminded the missionary of the story of Moses and the Red Sea and how God had guided them safely across.

The missionary said, “But I’m not Moses.” And in reply the girl said, “No you’re not. But God is still God.” 

GOD IS STILL GOD! 
He’s still very much aware of our situation. He’s still very much concerned with what’s going on in our lives. And He’s still very much able to step into our lives and speak “peace” to even the most troubling situation.

 And……… I am waiting for Him to do that!

 In the Bonds of Calvary,

What if God Appears?

 It was in a moment of daily routine that he saw a bush covered with flames but did not appear to be consumed.

And, as he turned aside to see it Moses’ curiosity and sense of inquiry prevented him from simply passing by.

It was then that Moses had his encounter with God.  The dusty ground became a holy temple as Moses took the time to stop, look, and listen in his daily grind.  

So my thought is that all of us may encounter a burning bush in our life routine.  At work, at play, at a committee meeting, an argument with your spouse, or some other critical moment of life passage, some person or event challenges us to growth, to deeper faith in Christ, to leadership in the church.

So I will continue to be curious about daily life.  

I expect God to appear so I want to be ready to look aside and explore the call of God for my life.

 

In the Bonds of Calvary,

Sometimes, I’m Just Ready to Fight!

I was reading the story of Gideon again today.

He has long been one of my favorite Bible characters.

This time, instead of being him, I decided to be one of the three hundred who remained faithful and ready for battle (You know, I wanted to look at the whole situation from their perspective).

By now, I have passed several tests, and I am sufficiently angry at the “bad guys” (Mideanites) and I am ready to fight.

My sleeves are rolled up, my mind is made up, and they are about to get ‘some of me’.

If nothing else I am sure that I will feel better after they have heard from me.

Suddenly I am told instead of fighting I should blow my trumpet and shout. “What?” ….. “NO!”

I want to strike someone or at least yell at them and tell them how wrong they are.

“Blow a trumpet?”  “Shout?’

What if Gideon had turned away from God?

The Israelites would have not been saved and would have stayed in bondage.

Gideon would have probably lived a short life for disobeying God and God may have chosen someone else.

 God does have  a plan and I want to be in it.

In the Bonds of Calvary,

A Ray of Light Came into my Window

Ever notice the dust particles dancing about in the rays of sun light beaming through the window?

Sure, but only when the sun light reveals them.

The dust is every- where, but it is only made visible by the light.

So it is with my sin. It is made visible by the light of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit.

The stronger the light, the more evident the dust.

What happens is that I have a vastly greater sense of the wickedness and sinfulness of my own heart and life.

I am not more sinful, I just have a greater awareness and sense of it in myself.

I can’t do anything about my sinful nature. Only God can.

Therefore I need to turn to Him for help.

I need to believe in absolute faith, repent of my sins, confess my sorrow, and surrender my life to Jesus.

Even though I surrender my entire life to Jesus the presence of sin is still a factor in my life.

But….my connection with sin has been radically altered.

The Holy Spirit is now showing me the way to walk with God.

I am no longer obligated to obey sin’s prompting.

Before, I had nothing but my own strength to withstand such prompting.

The closer I walk with God, the greater will be my knowledge and awareness of sin.

Not other people’s sin, but mine.

 I suspect that this is what God is trying to teach me today.

And, I am anxiously endeavoring to digest ALL of it.

 In the Bonds of Calvary,

Living by FAITH

An Arab chief told the story of a spy who was captured and then sentenced to death by a general in the Persian army. This general had the strange custom of giving condemned criminals a choice between the firing squad and the big, black door.

As the moment for execution drew near, the spy was brought to the Persian general, who asked the question, “What will it be: the firing squad or the big, black door?”

The spy hesitated for a long time – It was a difficult decision – He chose the firing squad.

Moments later shots rang out confirming his execution. The general turned to his aide and said, “They always prefer the known way to the unknown. It is characteristic of people to be afraid of the undefined. Yet, we gave him a choice.” The aide said, “What lies beyond the big, black door?”

“Freedom,” replied the general. “I’ve known only a few brave enough to take it.”

How brave am I ? Today God brings to me a choice – I can live by fear or by faith.

If I choose fear I will live my entire life never fully experiencing the great satisfaction of taking a risk for God.

If I choose to walk in faith Iwill experience a newfound freedom that will lead to a personal assurance that I am living life to its fullest.

I will turn fear into faith today.

 In the Bonds of Calvary,

A definition of success:

Let me give you a definition of success:

“Successful people do what most people don’t feel like doing.”

Now, you know our culture says, “Base everything you do on how you feel.” In other words, if you feel like doing it, do it – If you don’t feel like doing it, don’t do it.

That is a guaranteed formula for immaturity, because immature people build their lives on feelings rather than on commitments. 

When I live my life based on how I feel I end up being manipulated by moods. I flip-flop around because I feel different from day to day.   

The truth is, I don’t always feel like doing what’s right. Do you?

I don’t always feel like being nice to my wife.

I don’t always feel like spending time with my kids.

I don’t always feel like praying and reading God’s Word. But the issue is not what do I feel, but do I do the right thing? 

Successful people simply develop habits that unsuccessful people don’t feel like developing. Like using their time wisely, being persistent, and sharpening their skills and things like that.

Master musicians practice in spite of their feelings.

 And godly men and godly women don’t get that way just by feeling it. Instead they develop some habits in their lives, some disciplines like having a daily time with God, and they do it whether they feel like it or not.  And that pleases God.

We can only accomplish the impossible when we see the invisible.

Open my eyes Lord.

In the Bonds of Calvary,

SOMETIMES….. GOD WHISPERS

The young man had lost his job and didn’t know which way to turn. So he went to see the old preacher. Pacing about the preacher’s study, the young man ranted about his problem. Finally he clenched his fist and shouted, “I’ve begged God to say something to help me. Tell me, Preacher, why doesn’t God answer?” The old preacher, who sat across the room, spoke something in reply — something so hushed it was indistinguishable. The young man stepped across the room. “What did you say?” he asked.

The preacher repeated himself, but again in a tone as soft as a whisper. So the young man moved closer until he was leaning on the preacher’s chair. “Sorry,” he said. “I still didn’t hear you.”

With their heads bent together, the old preacher spoke once more. “Sometimes….God Whispers,” he said, “so we will move closer to hear Him.”

I WISH THAT GOD WOULD SPEAK TO ME LOUDLY AND CLEARLY.

I want God’s voice to thunder through the air with the answer to my problem.

But, I am whispering  because I can see you drifting away from Me, and I want to get close to you again!

God’s whisper means that I must stop my ranting and move close to Him, until my head is bent together with His.

And then, as I listen, I will find my answer. Better still, I find myself closer to God.

We live in a society that is inundated with noise, clutter, and confusion.

Sometimes, God doesn’t scream at us like the commercials on our televisions.

Sometimes, God still chooses to whisper.

Sometimes, God still speaks in the still, small voice!

 If I will listen closely, draw near to Him; get very close…. I know that Iwill hear what God is saying!

I had never seen this scripture before, but Paul said, we need to study to be quiet!

 I want to hear what He is saying to me today.

 In the Bonds of Calvary,

FIRE WORKS !

This Sunday is the Sunday of the week of the Fourth of July, Independence Day. While driving this past week I saw little tents dotting the highway with signs out front promising one thing, “Fireworks.”

As I looked at those tents and signs, I thought, They’re right! FIRE WORKS!

When programs and finances and the flesh have failed, fire works! I’m talking about the fire of the Holy Spirit!
This Independence Day let every explosion, every brilliant display in the sky, become a reminder that FIRE WORKS!

Fire works in the church.

Fire works in the home.

Fire works on the job, in the school, in the market place.

And, the good news is that we have the promise that Jesus has come to provide the fire when He baptizes with the Holy Spirit.

John said, “He will baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.”

On the Day of Pentecost there was a Fire Works display.

There appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire. Then they went out into the streets, Peter preached and the Fire Worked.

It still does.

 In The Bonds of Calvary,

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