I Am Determined

I have been called by several names. Given name, nicknames, special names, complimentary names and uncomplimentary names. One of the  descriptive names that I often hear is “Tenacious.”  I like that one because it implies, “he is not going to quit or give up.” And, that’s true! I have no intention of quitting before it is time.

I have decided that determination means that I am focusing on the reward of reaching my goal rather than on the obstacles of getting there. It means that I will be crying out for God’s supernatural intervention. It means that I will exert as much energy as needed to reach my goal.

It means I will have to deny myself. It means a total abandonment to the will of God and to His work. It means to take up the cross and follow Him.

I am ready because I know my cross is special. It’s my cross.

I am picking it up and I am following.

In the Bonds of Calvary,

I Am Listening….I Think

It seems that there are many voices competing for my attention. It is time to get alone and hear the voice of my Shepherd.

Sometimes God has to take me through a hurricane, earthquake, and a fire before I can hear His “still small voice.”

You know what? Having God speak to me is not the problem. The problem is failing to obey God when He does speak.

It is vital that I hear “the voice of the Lord” and that I recognize and reject voices that are not from God. Recognizing the source of the voice or thought is necessary if I am going to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

Looking back I am aware that there are times that God spoke to me and there is no doubt. These were those rhema moments.

Other times God has spoken to me through  speakers or books.

I am listening now…..

In the Bonds of Calvary,

Fear Not!

God is continuously instructing us to “Fear Not” and that makes me believe that I have the ability to overcome this very debilitating emotion.In order to do that, I think, I will have to identify the fears that hinder my walk with God and my openness with other people.

I think that once I identify my fears then I will be able to take steps to resolve them.

I fear RIDICULE…….

I fear FAILURE……

I fear  POVERTY……..

And, REJECTION, PAIN, SICKNESS, FUTURE…..

But wait. I have given my reputation to God and am only concerned that I represent Christ in all that I do.

If all that I am and all that I have is truly dedicated to God, I have nothing to fear, because I have nothing to lose.

In the Bonds of Calvary

Impossibility or Opportunity?

Life can be tough! Reported attempted suicides are over the 100,000 mark annually.

Drug use in America is epidemic, much of it an attempt to manage the pressure of life. Our land has more than 3 million declared alcoholics and many more that cannot face the day or night without a few stiff drinks or a six-pack. Prescriptions for mood-altering drugs are a booming business as many people take uppers to get going and downers to go to sleep!

Each of us, from time to time, runs up against a problem that resists every effort we make to create a solution, don’t we?  My heart aches as I share in the challenges of people that I love.

Some are in marriages that seem hopelessly broken by conflict or infidelity.
Some are fighting habits that hang on to them like a pit bull.
Others bring the story of a mountain of debt that has accumulated.

I’ve listened to older people telling of lonely days and the fear of being incapable of caring for themselves. There are myriad stories from those who are trying to cope with chronic illness, bad job situations, grief, or stresses that are pushing them to the limits of their endurance! The Devil does his best to kill and destroy.

Our status as God’s children does not exempt us from the curse of sin. Christians wrestle with the same temptations, get the same cancers, face the same tough bosses, and live in the same economic conditions as everyone else.

There is  a word of hope- we aren’t exempt from the problems, but we have resources to carry us through! The Word tells us that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

I am counting on that powerful Word!

In the Bonds of Calvary,

At Calvary

Today, the words of this William R. Newell song really ministered to me.                                                                                                                                                                                  When we started our first church we sang this song almost every week. It was the only one Sandy could play on the piano and the only one I could sing without getting too far off key.

Years I spent in vanity and pride, Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died
On Calvary!

By God’s Word at last my sin I learned; Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned
To Calvary!

Now I’ve given to Jesus everything, now I gladly own Him as my                                                          King: Now my raptured soul can only sing                                                                                                        Of Calvary!

Mercy there was great, and grace was free; Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty
At Calvary!

I hope I never lose what I feel in my spirit right now.

In the Bonds of Calvary,

Do You Think God Grades on the Curve?

    I am wondering today, “What does it take to please God?” Some think that the way you please God is through religious ritual. You do certain kinds of rituals and then God is pleased and you’re in the in-crowd.

Others think that the way you please God is through rules and regulations – and that if you just do certain things, then God will say, “You’re okay.” But that doesn’t please God either.

    Some people think that if my bad works are real low and my good works are real high, and we kind of balance them out, well, maybe God will grade on a curve and as long as I do more good than bad, I’m okay. That’s not true either. 

    The Bible says that there’s only one way that I can please God:  

    And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. - Hebrews 11:6

How can I tell if I’ve got real faith?

How do I know I’ve got the kind of faith that pleases God?

How do I know I have the kind of faith that gives me access into heaven?

WHAT IS REAL FAITH?

REAL FAITH IS NOT JUST SOMETHING I FEEL 

REAL FAITH IS NOT JUST SOMETHING I THINK

    Faith is odorless, it’s colorless, it’s weightless – So how do I know when I’ve got it?

    Faith is like calories – I can’t see them, but you can sure see the results.

REAL FAITH IS NOT JUST SOMETHING I BELIEVE

REAL FAITH IS SOMETHING I DO!

In the Bonds of Calvary,

Giving God the Glory

Eighteen months ago the oncologist very somberly told me that the life expectancy of a person with my diagnosis was generally between one to three years.

What she didn’t tell me but I read in her transcribed report was this: “The life expectancy of this patient is 12-18 months. This is a very optimistic prognosis.”

I am now beginning my nineteenth month since the diagnosis and feeling very well. The tumor has continued to shrink without any chemo, radiation, or medications.

I am overwhelmed by the love and care that continues to be extended toward me as you pray and  together we believe that God is able.

I give God  the glory for all He has done.

In the Bonds of Calvary,

Where’s my Bucket?

Some years ago, I read one of those Reader’s Digest stories, Life in These United States.  It seems that the writer lived on a farm in the mid west when she was little and her city bred cousin came to visit.  The city cousin was slightly farm challenged and tried hard to adjust.  On her second day she spied some pretty flowers at the other end of the fenced in meadow.  She asked if she could pick the flowers and her cousin said it would be ok.  Pointing to what was a big black bull in the field, she said, “what about that”, and pointed to the creature.  “Oh, Horace is our old bull, he won’t bother you at all”.  With that she went on her way to do errands.

The city cousin thought it would be easier to put the flowers in a container, and searching the barn, she found a bucket.  Then she skipped out or the barn, scaled the fence and walked across the field happily swinging her bucket.  As she got about half way, the bull looked up at her and lumbered in her direction.  Cousin ran in response and Horace the bull, began to lumber faster and faster!  Out of breath she reached the fence, hopped over and ran to find her cousin.  I thought you said he wouldn’t bother me – that bull chased me all the way back across the meadow!

The farm cousin looked her over and saw the bucket and began to laugh.  He wasn’t after you!  You were carrying his feed bucket. Horace wanted to eat!

That’s what we do.  We carry the bread of life into a world of hungry people!

Where’s my bucket?

In the Bonds of Calvary,

What do you say to the voice in your burning bush?

Every one of us has some situation, setting,  or person which becomes a “burning bush”.   This “burning bush” becomes a place where we know the promise and comfort of the guidance of God’s spirit as well as the challenge of God’s call to a faithful life.

  As I struggle to hear God’s call for my future, or as I seek clarity in God’s call for my life, I know this: God has given me, like Moses, what I need to fully accomplish God’s desire for me and for my life.   I know that as I look at the future it may seem too big a dream to picture ….. 

In the end, I am not so different as I encounter God at my burning bush.  I will be  curious, explore my faith, enjoy the divine encounter and know that God has already blessed me with everything I need to act on that call.

And I know that in the end, my call will ultimately  let others know that God is still around.  The I AM is life…..  Hope……. Purpose……. World transforming.  I am the messenger and the hard work of setting captives free, bringing food to the hungry, creating peace in the midst of war, love for enemies, healing for the turned cheek, has always been God’s work anyway.  I simply tell the Good News.

 What do you say to the voice in your burning bush?

In the Bonds of Calvary,

Do You Have a Pet “Rock”?

Have you ever seen a pet rock? I met one some years ago. A  student in college was not allowed to keep a dog or cat  so he kept a smoothly polished rock instead. It sat on his bedside table where he could stroke it, especially when he felt lonely and far from home. He said it gave him a secure feeling.

Have you ever seen a pet Bible? People do keep Bibles as pets, and they usually sit on their bedside tables too. Often they fondle its pages, reading a favorite verse or two to comfort and relax them before they go to sleep. By this means, they think they are maintaining a relationship with God. Unfortunately, for all the practical difference it makes to their lives, they might just as well stroke a rock as the leather of their Bible.

 They want the comfort and security of the prophetic word without having to face up to its disquieting challenge to their lifestyle. So they find ways of controlling that word, muzzling its bark, domesticating it.

I sure don’t want to be like that.

In the Bonds of Calvary,

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