Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tiger Shark

It was on this day in 1945 that one of the most devastating Naval losses of World War II occurred. The U.S.S. Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sank just 12 minutes later. There were almost 1200 men aboard the ship when it was hit. 300 of those men perished when the ship went down. Most of the 900 men that survived the initial submarine attack would later wish they hadn't. Rescue did not come right away, as the Indianapolis was on a secret mission and was not even reported as being missing for almost a week later. It was discovered by accident some 5 days later when a pilot in a passing plane saw the men clinging to the wreckage of the ship. But by then, there were only 317 men remaining alive. Tiger sharks attacked and ate the rest! Survivors tell about their absolute horror of treading water after the sub attack, and watching the sharks, nearly 1200 of them, approach the feeding frenzy. Some of the survivors claimed that they actually tried to taunt the sharks into attacking them so they no longer had to wait for the inevitable. To them, death would have been a relief to just sitting in the water waiting to be eaten alive. This real-life story was portrayed in the movie Jaws when 3 of the characters talked about the incident one night while hunting the famous Great White shark. Click HERE to read the Jaws monologue of the incident.

I don't know of any problem that you or I have ever faced that could even come close to comparing to that horrific nightmare. But what happened to those men on the Indianapolis does parallel the kinds of troubles that we see almost everyday. That is, we, too are hit with problems that we don't see coming (submarine attack) and problems that we do see coming (shark attack). The solution to both of those problems is God. I don't know why some men died during the initial torpedo attack and why some of them survived. But to those who did survive, it was nothing short of a miracle. And to those who had to endure the shear terror of watching the dorsal fin of a 20-foot, man-eating Tiger Shark approach, and then to actually survive it, was also nothing short of a miracle. The Bible is clear that God chooses who He will take away and who He will leave behind. We are totally at His mercy. True, we can make decisions that put us directly in harm's way. But situations can also transpire that we don't directly cause to happen. In either account, we need to lean completely on God. Regardless of what your personal "torpedoes" and "sharks" may be at this moment, call out to God Almighty. There is absolutely nothing He can't do to help us

2 Samuel 22:31 says, "He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him".

Father, please teach us to depend totally on You for every single thing in our life. In Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Matter of the Heart

Fred G. Sanford, portrayed by Redd Foxx on the TV sitcom Sanford and Son, was always claiming to be having "the big one". Can't you just see him clutching his heart with his arth-a-ritus-riddled hand, and hollering out to his deceased wife Elizabeth? On the show, he had the "big one" at least two or three times a week. Watching him in re-runs still cracks me up! Ironically in 1991, he did have the "big one". While filming on the set of a new comedy show, Foxx suffered a massive heart attack. Sadly, He was pronounced dead a short time later.

We have all heard that there are two things in life that are certain, death and taxes. We may not be able to get around the taxes part, but death has already been conquered by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For Christians, death is only a temporary stage through which we pass. By accepting God's only Son Jesus, the Bible promises that we, too, will have victory over death. Jesus is our eternal hope for everlasting life. It is a gift that God has offered to every one of us. Instead of us hanging on that Cross, Christ took the pain and suffering from us. He died in our place, but God raised Him from the grave! He will raise us from it, too. With Jesus as our Savior, we will never need to fear the "big one".

Jesus said in John 11:25-26, "I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet he shall live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die."

Father, thank you for loving us enough to send Your precious Son Jesus. I am a sinner. I claim the blood of Christ! In Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Weird Inspiration

As most of you know, I host an oldies radio show nationwide on 104.9. If you do not live in the area, you can listen to my show on Saturday nights from 6 till 11 from my website It is called Jukebox Saturday Night, and I would love it if you listened sometime. As this is my 22nd year in radio, I have studied oldies music a pretty good bit. I have gotten such a great response from my "song devotions" lately, I decided to do one more for the week. This is a true, weird inspiration story:

A singer/songwriter was sitting out on his balcony in New York City one night in 1967. He had just written what he thought was a great pop song. The only problem was that he did not have a title for the song. He wanted the title to be perfect! He knew he wanted the title of the song to be a girl's name, and he also desperately wanted a catchy name like Bony Moronie or Sloopy. He was totally frustrated. He spent hours looking through a dictionary but just could not find what he was looking for. Aggravated, he threw the dictionary on the floor and gave up. As he sat back in his chair and gazed out across the New York skyline, he saw a flashing neon sign on a 40-story building a few blocks away. The sign was flashing the letters of the company. It was an insurance company called Mutual of New York. As the letters flashed, the songwriter read it: M.O.N.Y M.O.N.Y. "That's it" he shouted! The songwriter's name, Tommy James, of the group the Shondels, and his song, Mony Mony, became a million-seller the very next year!

Isn't God absolutely amazing? He can inspire us from the most unusual sources. We all want to please Him and to learn what His will is for our lives. But if you are like me, you have noticed that He does not always simply shout out what He wants us to do. But I do believe he tells us and guides us, though sometimes in the most silent ways. Unless we take time to stop what we are doing and look around for His words, however, we may never "see" them. I wonder how many times He has tried to lead me in one direction, but I was not listening and went in another. There's no doubt if I had been paying 100% attention to Him, things in my life would be much better than they are right now. But it is never too late to start tuning more into Him. Has He been speaking to you lately? Are you sure?

Isaiah 42:16 says, "I will lead the blind by ways they have not known..."

Father, teach us to seek You more diligently than we ever have before. Forgive us for being so blind and deaf to Your leading. In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rockin' Robin

It was on this day in 1990 that singer Bobby Day died of cancer. Day is best known for his 1958 Pop hit "Rockin Robin". The song was inspired by a true story. It was written by Leon Rene, who lived in a two-story home in Los Angeles with his wife Irma and son Rafael. Leon and Irma had separate bedrooms-hers was in the front of the house and his in the back. Early one spring morning, a robin perched on a tree in the front yard and started chirping and putting up a major racket, right under Irma's bedroom window. This went on for about a week. She complained that the bird was keeping her from getting all her sleep. Leon was less than sympathetic. He told her, "Oh it's ok, that bird is just a singer like us. All he is doing is hoping and bopping and singing his song." But the next day, the bird took up residence under Leon's window. The composer then changed his "tune". It resulted in a Top-5 song on Billboard's Pop Chart.

How many of us are like Leon? We don't consider how things effect other people's feelings until that same thing happens to us. The Bible tells us that we should share in others good times and their bad times. We should laugh and cry right along with them. That's what it means to truly care about other people. Jesus was "moved to tears" when He saw how the death of Lazarus effected his two sisters Martha and Mary. But it is more than just when death strikes. Death does cause all of us to feel pain with others. But what about the little things? We should consider that no matter how small things seem to us, to somebody else, it could be something major. Unless we have experienced that same thing, we should not allow ourselves to think less of their problem. Today, let's all try to share with others whatever it is that is bothering them. Because in doing so, we are showing just how much we truly care for others. And that pleases our Lord.

1Peter 4:8 says, "Love others deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."

Father, please help us to put our own desires aside and to consider others. We know that You have commanded us to love each other. Please teach us to love deeply. In Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Eye Of The Storm

We are heading into prime hurricane season here close to the Gulf Coast. Although the season has been fairly quiet, just as predicted by experts, I fear we are about due for a big one. The Tropical Prediction Center in Coral Gables, Florida has a hard task in which to perform when it comes to hurricanes. On one hand, if it issues an evacuation recommendation for an area, and a huge storm does not materialize, it is accused by the Media as "crying wolf". On the other hand, if it does not issue an evacuation recommendation for an area and a killer hurricane does make landfall, it is criticized for being incompetent. Why would it ever issue an evacuation in the first place? The reason is simple: To remove people from harm's way.

When the Church is Raptured by Jesus, it will be one mass evacuation! God loves His people so much that He wants to remove us from what is to come, namely the seven-year Tribulation. Some people don't believe that the Rapture will occur before the Tribulation. In fact, some people don't believe in the Rapture at all. But I do believe it will happen, and more importantly, I believe it will happen before literally "all hell breaks loose" on the earth. The Bible speaks of a terrible time that is coming like man has never experienced before. But my belief is that Christians will not have to suffer through this unparalleled time. It is hard to imagine anything more devastating than Hurricane Andrew or Katrina. But those will seem like tiny rain showers compared to the "storms" of the Tribulation. Looking back, would you ignore those evacuation orders? God is sounding His warnings loudly and clearly. Will you ignore Him?

I Thessalonians 1:10 says, "And to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come."

Father, please help us all to heed Your warnings. Direct us to bring Your Good News of Salvation to everyone. In Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Real Love

In the mid-90's, country singer and songwriter Joe Diffie had a top-5 hit with John Deere Green. The song is about a boy who climbs atop a water tower "on a hot summer night" and paints on it a huge heart, dedicated to his girlfriend Charlene. Instead of painting the heart red, he painted it in "John Deere Green". As the song continues, they get married, and years later the heart can still be seen on the tower, regardless of what town officials do to try to erase it. The final stanza of the song is as follows:

Now more than once the town has discovered

painting over it ain't no use

There ain't no paint in the world that'll cover it

the heart keeps showing through

That is my favorite verse of the whole song. To me it says, "true love will stick through anything", regardless of how bad circumstances get. Can we expect others to love us to this degree? Can we expect our spouse, kids, friends, and family to love us through thick and thin, no matter how thick we may make things? Believe me, I Have made an absolute mess of situations in the past couple years, and I have found that very few have remained by my side. That is not their fault though, and the only blame I am placing is on myself. But Jesus Christ has never abandoned me, even in my darkest hours.

The big heart of Christ can also never be "painted" over. No matter how much we sin or how terrible that sin may be, His heart for us "keeps showing through". He left the comforts of heaven for earth, traded in His Kingship for slaveship, and suffered and died on the Cross for one reason: To save me and to save you. He did not save us from death, for death would have been a better place than where we were headed. Death would actually have been desirable compared to what we were destined for. We were destined to a forever-state of the most horrible pain and suffering we could ever imagine, and then some! Jesus endured that unimaginable pain so we did not have to suffer, so we did not have to feel those whips on our backs and thorns in our scalps, and so we did not have to feel those sharp, rusty nails piercing our hands and feet. Do you know anyone else who would have loved you or loved me that much? I have to admit, I have done some pretty dumb things to mess up and chase away my true loves recently. But it is such a comfort to know that I can never mess up enough to chase Jesus away. My sins will never have the power to "paint over" His heart for me! Praise Him!

Ephesians 2:4-5 says, "Because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ, even while we were dead in our sins-it is by grace you have been saved."

Father, how does a limited human thank an unlimited God for an act of such immeasurable magnitude? You are awesome!! In Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


In the Gospels of The New Testament, we are told of how Jesus cast out demons that had possessed various people. In the accounts, victims of possession were described as writhing uncontrollably on the ground, foaming at the mouth, and loudly speaking blasphemy against the Lord. Terrifying images of the horror film The Exorcist immediately come to my mind. But why was that type of possession so common then but uncommon now? Satan may not be taking over people's bodies the same way he used to do, but he is definitely still taking over people's bodies. On this day in 1991, cannibal and serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested for the killings of 17 people. In America's short history, there have been well over 100 serial killers documented by officials. I will list ten of the more infamous ones: Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Gary Ridgeway ( The Green River Killer), Charles Manson, The Zodiac Killer, Richard Ramirez (The Night Stalker), David Berkowitz (Son Of Sam), Randy Craft, The Boston Strangler, and Dahmer. These ten monsters combined to murder and mutilate over 258 lives! Satan is alive and well in the U.S.!

Most of these instruments of the Evil One never even closely-resembled those possessed in The Bible; Most in fact looked like your everyday "boy next door". What a frightening thought! Even more frightening is the fact that Satan doesn't always transform himself into such evil monsters as serial killers. Sometimes he even enters each of us in more subtle ways. When we lie, cheat, talk nasty, or even have something as seemingly harmless as a bad thought about somebody, we can safely assume that Satan had at least something to do with it. How do we protect ourselves against him? There is only one way: Jesus Christ! The devil is much more powerful than we, but not even half as powerful as Christ. Jesus defeated him in the wilderness and at Calvary, and has been whipping him ever since. Are you protected from the evil one? Are your wrapped up in the safety of Jesus?

Ephesians 6:11 says, "Put on the whole armor of Christ so you will be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."

Father, thank you for Your Divine protection against Satan. Lord, we have no chance against him ourselves. But it only through Your Perfect Son Jesus that we are able to endure his attacks. In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Relentless Storms

First of all, I owe you an apology. The night I wrote the devotion about my friend Mike taking his life, I inadvertently left off the first line that it was about him and NOT about me. I sincerely do apologize. I wrote that devotion from what I felt was his point of view...a view of complete despair and emptiness. Let me say this right now: I will never, ever take my own life! I have to admit that the past few months have been the hardest in my life, and a new problem that is equally as bad has popped up in the last day. And although I am having some bouts with sadness and maybe even depression, I promise that suicide has not, and will not cross my mind!! Now, on with the devotion.

The votes are in on my poll "In your opinion, do you believe if a Christian commits suicide, will they still go to heaven? Over 80% of those responding either said "no" or "I don't know". I guess it is a pretty hard question that the Bible does not directly address. My opinion is that "yes" they will still go to heaven. If you believe that they won't go to heaven, then consider this. To God, all sin is equally bad. So if you believe they will go to hell because they did not ask for forgiveness, then we are all in serious trouble. That would mean if there was ANY unconfessed sin in your life at the moment of your death, you would lose your Salvation. Given that the Bible says we all sin, then the odds are definitely stacked against us. As a matter of fact, I imagine we all have some unconfessed sin at this very moment. I agree this is a difficult subject that has been debated forever. But the more I learn about the heart of God and His Son Jesus, the more I doubt any sin is going to terminate what He did for us on the Cross. Wishful thinking? Maybe. But it is also my honest feeling.

Nehemiah 9:17 says, "You are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love."

Father, I praise Your holy name, no matter what personal tragedies I am facing. I will never stop telling people about your saving grace. In Jesus name, Amen.

My God

I am proud to say that I serve an all-powerful, all-loving God. Not only did He love me enough to send His Son Jesus to save me, but God even loves me enough to take care of me every single minute, even when I don't deserve it. I am proud that God understands me, even if I don't understand myself. I'm proud that God will never abandon me, even when everybody else has. I love God with all my heart. And through my most difficult trials and circumstances, He loves me too. I will never, ever give up striving to please Him, even when I can please nobody else. We are all born to make mistakes, to do incredibly dumb things, and to make a mess of our lives. But God loves us anyway! I completely dedicate my life to Him, even though I make mistakes and will continue to make them. There is no circumstance too big for My God!!! Before you judge others, consider your own faults. God is also there for you, too.
Psalm 119:169 says, "Let my cry come near before thee, O Lord, give me understanding according to thy word."
Father, thank you for loving me. I pray for everyone who is troubled at this hour. Teach us that the only true peace is the peace we find in You. In Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pray Hard

The previous post was about my friend who committed suicide. He left a wife, a 10-year old daughter, and a child on the way. I spoke to his wife yesterday, and she said he had been under incredible amounts of stress. She revealed to me that one of his ex-girlfriends had recently came around and she felt he was still in love with her. She was killed in a motor vehicle wreck on Tallahassee about 2 weeks ago. According to his wife, Mike just could not take it. There was probably more to it, but that is what she told me. It is so sad to know some people hurt this much.

I wish I knew how to help somebody when they are feeling so down. We all have our moments, but I have found such an incredible peace in Jesus! It is amazing to me that a person I can't see, touch, feel, or hear in the normal sense can bring such peace to me. I find that the more I pray, the closer to Him I feel. I am sad that Mike is gone and leaves a grieving family behind. That is the saddest part of all. Those that are left behind are filled with unanswered questions. All we can do is pray for them. Pray hard!

Psalm 17:6 says, "I call on you, O God, for You will help me."

Father, I pray for Mike's family and loved ones. I know they are hurting and seem to think no relief is in sight. Father, please comfort them as only you know how. In Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Don't Die Before You Die

Today was a horrible day for me! I have been questioning God about several things. I am struggling with a personal issue that has all but wiped me out. On top of that, two people I know, both in their early 40's, committed suicide this week. Just how much sadness is in people's lives this day and age? We all make mistakes. We all do things we wish we didn't do. Life doesn't come with instructions, and the best we can do is read God's Word and pray hard. But you know as well as I do that trying to find God's will and trying to understand why He allows some things to happen are two of the hardest things in our spiritual lives. We trust that God has everything under control. But that does not always convince us to be happy and to simply play off everything that happens as "just His will". Those two who committed suicide are dead. But how many of us are also dead, although we are still breathing?

We can't be happy all the time. Sadness is just a part of our fallen, sin-ridden world. But what can we do when we are trying to survive the sadness? How do we "make it" to happiness again? I guess if I knew the answer to that I could write a book and become rich and famous. All I can do is speak about how I survive those times. I give it all to God, and rely on His perfect strength daily, sometimes even hourly. I have always survived every single episode of sadness my entire life. And although what I am enduring right now personally is the absolute hardest trial I have ever faced, I will survive it too! God WILL NOT let me down! I just wish everybody else had the same kind of faith that I have in the Lord. I wish suicide would never rear its ugly head again in our world. But we must face it. Some people are very sad, and contemplate taking their lives all the time. As God's children, we need to ask Him to give us the wisdom to spot these people, and then share everything we can with them to head off a potential disaster. The last thing we need to ever do is downplay somebodys sadness. I know it is hard to cheer some people up when they are really depressed. But Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors. I am pretty sure He meant to love them, even when it means we have to put ourselves out for them. We must share each other's burdens. After all, God shares all of ours.

Philippians 2: 3-4 says, "Consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only at your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

Father, oh Lord, why is there so much sorrow in our world? Please teach us to truly love one another. Teach us to share others burdens, just as You share our burdens. If there is anyone tonight on the verge of suicide, Lord please help them in the way only You can. In Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

You've Got To Believe To Receive

As a teacher, I have to be very careful that I don't use questions on a test that can be considered as "bad". A "bad" question is a question that can have more than one correct answer or be interpreted in more than one way. For example, answer these 3 simple questions:

1. Who discovered America? 2. What was the President's name in 1982? 3. How many months have 28 days?

Typical answers are Columbus, Reagan, and February. Those are considered correct answers. However, depending on how you look at the questions, the answer to the first one could be Native Americans, since they were here long before Columbus. For the second question, another correct answer is Obama, since that has been his name all his life, including in 1982. And the third question, yep, you guessed it, all the months have 28 days. What would be your answer to this simple yes/no question? Did Christ's death on the Cross give us Eternal Life?

It is true that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, did die on the Cross for our sins and to give us Eternal Life. But we are not automatically saved because of His death and Resurrection. What Christ did was only an offer for forgiveness and Eternal Life. When people say that Christ died on the Cross to save us, we must remember that we are not truly saved until we receive His offer. We MUST accept Him as our Personal Savior in order to be forgiven for our sins and to receive Eternal Life. So, did Christ's death on the Cross give us Eternal Life? Only if we accept it and choose to believe in Him. Have you received Christ into your heart? If so, you are promised Eternal Life from a God that never lies! But if you have not accepted Christ as your Personal Savior, the Bible explains that you are NOT saved. What Christ did on the Cross was an amazing gift and offer of true love for each one of us. But we must believe in order to receive.

Romans 10:9 says, "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord', and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." [emphasis added]

Father, thank you for sending Your precious Son Jesus to die for me. Also, thank you for stirring my heart at age 13, and helping me to accept Him. I pray for all those who have not accepted Christ. Stir their hearts, too, Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

An Eye-Opener

I got a real eye-opening experience today. Most of the people that I know and associate with are Christians. I rarely come in contact with non-believers, at least the kind that are vocal about their belief that Christianity is absurd. But after reading some websites today, I see that not only are there non-believers out there, but that some of them think we as Christians are morons. The subject I was reading about was the existence of Jesus Christ. Many people wrote their opinions that He is just folklore, and even went so far as to say that Christians are as brain-washed as Radical Islamists. Ouch! My response to some of their opinions was that I can no more "prove" that Christ existed than they can "prove" that He didn't. I pointed out that there are some reliable non-secular sources that document that Jesus was real. But I was shot down by some replies that those sources are not reliable at all. I am reminded of the old saying "arguing with a fool is like beating the air with a stick".

I believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and that He came to earth and died for my sins. I don't have to "prove" it; All I have to do is "believe" it. As a matter of fact, the Bible teaches us that without faith, we can not please God. These lost folks need our prayers. We can not argue with them. All we can do is tell them the Good News about Christ and then let God do the rest. After all, we were once as lost as they are now. Why do you think Jesus has not come back yet? It is because of those lost souls. There are still those who He wants to save. Even if I am wrong and there is no Jesus, what have I lost by following the teachings of Christ? If we all lived by the teachings of Christ, this world would be so much more peaceful. If they are right and I am wrong, I have lost nothing. But if I am right and they are wrong, they have lost everything! If they truly believe there is no Jesus, then they better "be sure as Hell" that they are right!

Acts 10:43 says, "All the prophets testify about Jesus that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name."

Father, forgive us for not telling more people about Your precious Son Jesus. Teach us that we still have a lot of work to do. In Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I Promise I Am The Messiah

For centuries, the Old Testament Prophets had been anticipating the arrival of the Messiah. Through their dreams and visions, God promised He would send Him at some point in the future, but nobody knew when that would be. Once Jesus came to earth, He had a difficult balancing act to perform. On one hand, He had to teach the people about faith. But on the other, He had to do some incredible miracles to convince at least some that He was truly the Messiah. Let's face it, He could not have just come on the scene announcing that He was the Christ without some miracles to back up that claim. In chapters 8 and 9 of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus' miracles are documented in an interesting way. Ten miracles in these two chapters prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus was in fact the Messiah.

Those ten miracles He performed are as follows: 1. cleansed a Leper 2. healed a paralyzed man 3. healed a woman with a serious fever 4. calmed a storm 5. removed a demon from a man 6. healed a paralytic 7. healed a woman of a blood disorder 8. raised a girl from the dead 9. healed 2 blind men 10. healed a mute. Through these ten miracles, Jesus revealed His authority over every realm: disease, demons, nature, and death. And as amazing as these miracles were, even more amazingly, some people still did not believe He was the Messiah! I am not sure what else they needed to see in order to believe. Today, we see God's work everywhere; He still performs miracles right before our very eyes. But are we, too, going to remain blind to the facts as those did in His time? What else do we have to see in order to believe?

John 3:18 says, "Whoever believes in God's Son is not condemned."

Father, thank you for sending Your Son Jesus. Please help those who may still be blinded from the Truth. In Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Two-For-One Deal

I love those buy-one-get-one-free deals! It is awesome feeling to get something for free. But this day and time, one must be careful about two-for-one offers. If you notice the new things on TV ads, most will give you a second product absolutely free..."just pay shipping and handling". Ah! That's where they get you. That extra shipping and handling charge is expensive. And guess what? You can't tell them you don't want the extra "free" item. I tried! You must take the "free" item with your purchase. So although the extra item itself may be free, the extra money you will pay for that "free" item is expensive. Beware of two-for-one deals!

But the Bible promises us a two-for-One deal that has no "catch" to it! In 1John, we are told that if we deny the Son, we also deny the Father. But, the opposite is also true. If we accept the Son, we get the Father automatically! Isn't that awesome? In other words, when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we also get God, His Father, at "no additional charge". That's not just a god. That is THE God!! God Almighty! As wonderful as this is, there is the other side of it that is tragic. Some people believe in God, but they don't believe in His Son, Jesus. Then according to this truth in 1John, they really don't have the Father at all. As Christians, we must let people know that simply "believing" in God will get them absolutely nowhere. It is only through accepting His Son Jesus that we will truly have Salvation and Eternal Life. Do you want God? Then there is only one way: Accept His Son Jesus. What an amazing two-for-One deal!

1John 2:23 says, "Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also."

Lord, again, thank you for sending your Son Jesus! I accept Him totally by faith. Teach me to explain to others that in order to gain You, we must first accept Him. In Jesus name, Amen.

Moving Past Sin, Part 2

Yesterday's devotion was about my convictions of Salvation and eternal life. In that devotion, I expressed that I believe the only way to be saved is through the grace and gift of Jesus Christ. No works or efforts on our part are necessary, only our belief in Jesus. Today, I want to share with you that, all though works, going to church, confessing sin, etc are not "required" for Salvation, those things are of the utmost importance. It is through these things that our relationship with God grows!

This is what I have experienced in my walk with Christ. When I take time to pray and ask Him for forgiveness, I feel a certain connection with Him. I suffer from anxiety attacks and those attacks are coming everyday now. But the more I pray and talk with Christ, the shorter those episodes last. It is an amazing calming effect when I pray and open up to Jesus. I think of it like the relationship between two close people. The more they stop everything they are doing and talk to one another about everything, the closer they become. It's the same thing as going to Church. By spending time with other believers, we tend to find ourselves getting closer to God. God chooses to communicate with us many times through somebody else. At Church, and anywhere else for that matter, we have a golden opportunity to share with others our thoughts beliefs, fears, and personal situations. In the end, we can learn from them, and they can learn from us. If you have children, think about it like this. No matter what your child does, good or bad, you love them no more or no less. But when you spend time sitting down talking with them and doing things with them, your relationship grows much richer. If that is so with humans, how much more so would it be with God? We do things for the Lord not to be saved, but because we are saved. I can tell you first-hand that the closer I draw to him through "works", the closer He draws to me through peace and happiness. Why would I want to receive less from Him by distancing myself from Him? Oh, what a true friend we have in Jesus!

John 15:10-11 says, "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love...I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy will be complete."

Father, thank you for getting closer to me these past few months. It has been a rough road for me personally. And although I know the storms continue to rage worse than ever, I do feel Your presence like never before. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Moving Past Sin, Part 1

I know my view on sin is not the only view in the world, even among Christians. Different views and interpretations of the Bible are some of the main reasons there are so many different denominations in Christianity today. My view on sin may sound too easy. I agree it sounds too easy to me also, but I think that the alternative is impossible. My view on sin is once a person has accepted Christ as Savior, NO sin, past, present, or future can undo what Christ did on the Cross. That means that NO sin can take away your Salvation and eternal life. Further, I don't believe you have to be baptized, go to church, tithe, ask for forgiveness of your sins anymore, do good works, or anything else other than accept Him once and for all. Yes, I know it sounds too easy, and many people don't have this interpretation of the Bible. Although there are many verses that back up what I am saying, I only give you one piece of "evidence": The thief on the Cross.

Both Matthew and Luke report that the two robbers crucified along with Jesus mocked Him. But Luke gives more detail about what happened. One of the thieves simply asked Jesus for one thing. He said, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom." In its simplest form, that one statement is the robber's profession of faith that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. That one statement is proof that the robber called upon the name of the Lord. The thief was not baptised, had not tithed, probably had not done anything good his whole life, and not once did he ask for forgiveness. What was Jesus' response? "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise." This seems to also back up the most famous verse in all the Bible: John 3:16 "...for whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." No other conditions were given. Other verses that support this idea are Romans 8:1-2, Titus 3:5, and Ephesians 2:8-9. Yes I realize there are some verses that seem to "contradict" these. But it is my conviction that Salvation is totally based on trusting in Christ as our Savior. Should we confess sins? Should we tithe? Should we do good works? Should we go to church? The answer to all these questions is yes, and tomorrow, I will share with you why I think those things are important. But those things are NOT necessary for Salvation.

Father, thank you for loving us so much to send Jesus to die in our place. Help us to always strive to do the things that please You. In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I Have A Serious Concern

After hearing a preacher on the radio yesterday and reading Romans 9:14-21, I find myself with a few serious questions. I like to write these devotions in hopes that they will inspire others. But sometimes, I need to write a devotion when I need inspiring, or at least when I have questions. I am not a Bible scholar, and all I can do is read Scripture and pray for understanding. But I know many of my readers are much further along on their spiritual walk, and I am hoping they will respond to my questions. Hopefully, I can get these things sorted. And just maybe, you have some of the same questions. I am in hopes that your responses will help all of us. Here's my struggle.

The preacher on the radio was saying that he finished 4 years of college and then 6 years in Seminary. But he said that the fact that he received his degrees so that he could become a preacher had absolutely nothing to do with his effort. He said it was all a gift from God. My question about that is, although it was a gift of God, didn't the preacher still have to accept the gift and also work hard at studying? If what he is saying that he had nothing to do with it and it was all from God, then doesn't that mean that a murderer or rapist can claim that God made him that way and that it had nothing to do with him. God did give us choice! Further, in Romans 9:14-21, it seems to back up what the preacher said. Paraphrasing, the Scripture says that God chooses who He will show mercy and who he will harden. It also seems like it is saying that God completely chooses whom He will honor and dishonor. I have read those verses several times, and it just seems to me to be saying that we really don't have any will or say so in matters; It is completely up to God. But that can't be right, can it? I MUST be missing something. Yes, God blesses us, shows mercy, and sends us through storms that seem to be completely out of our control. But don't I have some choice? Help!

Father, I love you and want to please You in every way. I have accepted Jesus as my Personal Savior, and according to Your perfect Word, I am saved and have eternal life. But is there anything we can do by choice to help turn around certain situations? I ask you to touch the hearts of those who know more about the Bible than I do. Help them to respond on here so I, and maybe somebody else, can uncover Your truth in this matter. In Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A True Love I Can't Express

When I read the words that others write
You know, the ones that truly have a skill.

I wonder why I should even bother

to write down the words that I feel.

Although the thoughts and feelings

are so deeply in my heart

I just can't seem to figure out

how to write them from the start.

The ones in which You have given talent

seem to write the words with ease

the very same words I think of

but that my fingers fail to seize.

You know what is in my heart, Lord

and how much I honestly do love You.

I just wish I could spill it all out

so that others could see it too.

But until the day I can figure out

how to bring the thoughts to this screen

I ask you to read straight from my soul

the words You know I truly mean.

Friday, July 3, 2009

True Freedom

We as Americans have always enjoyed the kind of freedom that other countries only dream about. But in our country's 200+year history, not all Americans have always been free. Until 1865 with the passage of the 13th Amendment, slavery was legal in most of the United States. Legal as it may have been, it certainly was not freedom for the millions of Blacks, Native Americans, and some Whites that were held by slave masters. President Lincoln fought hard for the rights of those slaves. The Civil War was very costly to America, and demonstrated that we as a society would not hesitate to fight for what we believed to be right, even if it meant a fight to the death. Two World Wars and several military skirmishes later, have we really come any farther? Our Military men and women put their lives on the line everyday so we can remain free, because we believe that freedom is the right thing. But on this Eve of Independence Day, we view our flag of stars and stripes as a symbol of not only freedom, but also as a reminder of the cost of that freedom.!

The ultimate sacrifice for freedom was the one paid by God. God loved us so much that He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die for us. We were not free before Jesus came to shed His blood on earth. We were all trapped in the bondage of sin, no matter our religion, color, or national origin. But God wanted to restore our relationship to Him. His Master plan, which was fought against by all the forces of Satan, succeeded when Jesus uttered the phrase, "It is finished." God allowed His Son to be murdered so that we can be free. What Americans have learned in its quest for freedom, God already knew all too well. Freedom is not free! Is it any wonder that our first murdered President, who fought for the abolishment of slavery, and Jesus Christ, who fought for the abolishment of sin, both died on Good Friday?

Titus 3:7 says, "Having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life."

Father, thank you for Your Son Jesus. Thank you for the true freedom that is found only in Him. In Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

False Sence Of Security

The other night as I was driving home from the college, I crossed over a set of train tracks. The tracks were equipped with warning lights. I know the train goes through there a lot, but I have never timed it just right to catch it there. Even though it has warning lights, I still slow to an almost-complete stop, look, and listen. I see some people shoot over the tracks without a second thought. What if the lights are malfunctioning, and there is no warning that the train is there? You know the score so far is train: 500, car: 0. My life means more to me than a set of warning lights that may or may not be working.

Why do we put so much confidence in the things of this world? We depend on our money, our jobs, our kids, etc for everything. Yes, I know these things are very important to us. But should we be depending on any of these things more than we should depend on Jesus? It is easy to say with have put our confidence in Him. But have we really? The Bible says that all good things come from God. Our money, jobs, kids, etc are blessings from God, and we should celebrate these things. But let's be sure we remember the source for these things. God has truly been good to us.

James 1:17 says, "Every good and perfect gift is from above , coming down from the father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Father, thank you for blessing us today. Please teach us to always pause and give thanks to You. In Jesus name, Amen.