Monday, November 30, 2009

Un-Popped Kernels

There's nothing like a big bowl of popcorn while watching a good movie! The best kind of popcorn is that stuff at the movie theaters...yum! Because it is not always convenient to go out to the movies, we sometimes have to just settle for the store-bought kind. It is pretty cool how heat can make those small, hard kernels transform into big, soft popcorn. But why do some of those kernels just refuse to pop? It seems that in every bag of popcorn I have ever bought, there's always a few stubborn little kernels.

When we accept Jesus and turn our lives over to Him, He transforms our hard hearts into soft ones. He can do things with our hearts that simply defy logic. I have found that through Jesus, I have more compassion and understanding for others. He took my hard heart and transformed it into soft popcorn. He wants to change all of our hearts. But He can not do it all by Himself. We must want to be changed, and we must ask Him to come into our hearts and take up residence. Don't be one of those stubborn kernels that just refuse to be popped. Open the door to Him, and feel Him transform your life like he transformed mine. I can tell you that opening my heart's door to Jesus was the best decision I have ever made in my entire life! Have you made that decision? God can do more with our hearts than even Orville Redenbacher can do to a pile of kernels.

Proverbs 17:22 says, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine."

Father, thank you for transforming my heart and life. I pray for those who may not have accepted You, yet. I ask You to give them strength to step out in faith, and into Your loving arms. In Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Iron Bowl

It is 3:30 am on Friday morning, less than 12 hours away from the kick-off of one of the best college football rivalries in the country. Alabama and Auburn will play its regular-season finale this afternoon. There is a lot on the line for both teams. For Auburn, a win can go a mighty long way in erasing the memory of a couple needless losses this season. For Alabama, a possible trip to the National Championship game. And regardless of each teams' records, beating the other one is just plain fun and exciting! But sadly, some people will take the game way too far.

I wonder if God doesn't put His "prayer line" on hold during the game. In a span of about 3 hours, there is no telling how many fans are cussing God, thanking God, and begging God, almost all at the same time. Most fans do just what they are supposed to do...enjoy the game. But we know there are others that can get pretty nasty because of the game. Fights break out and even marriages end because of the game. My ex-wife was an Auburn fan and I am a Bama fan. We always enjoyed picking on each other during the game. We may be divorced now, but it had absolutely nothing to do with the Alabama/Auburn football game. But some people can't say that. I just wonder what the divorce rate in this state is due to the game. We can all learn a lesson from the players that participate in the game. When it is over, they all go to the middle of the field and shake hands. I have even seen many hugs between players after the game. If the very players that play in the game do this, how much more should we who only watch the game? So, Roll Tide or War Eagle! But more importantly, PRAISE GOD!

Psalm 28:6 says, "Praise be to the Lord always."

Father, help us to remember that the game today is just that...a game. Help the players and coaches to do their very best, and use the outcome of the game as Glory to Your Holy name. In Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wrong Tool

Somebody sent a funny picture to me today, and so I decided to use it on my devotion. As you can see, it is a picture of a huge, 6-foot mouse trap trying to lure a deer. The joke is that if Obama takes away our guns, we can always deer hunt with this trap. How many times do we try to do a job with the wrong tool? I am very inefficient when it comes to using tools. I may need a wrench, but if a pair of scissors are handy and will turn the bolt, I'm using it. I can't tell you how many times I have taken a hot dish out of the stove with my baseball mitt because I didn't have any pot holders close by. And don't even get me started about hammering in a nail with a big rock. Tools are just not my thing.

How many people are trying to get to heaven today by using the wrong "tools"? Some think that reading the Bible or going to church every Sunday will earn them a trip to Glory land. Some think that rushing down to "confession" or being baptized will save them. Fact is, there is nothing we can do that we save us...absolutely nothing! The Bible clearly teaches us that Salvation is never earned; It is a gift from God! All we have to do is believe that Jesus was God's Son, and that He is the only true way to heaven. And before we try to boast about believing in Jesus, we must remember that the Bible also teaches that God is the One that actually leads us to believe in Him. But the good part is although there is nothing we can do to earn heaven, there is also nothing we can do to lose it! Once we are saved by the Power of Jesus, no sin can ever separate us from Him again. Are you truly saved today? Have you been using the right tool?

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace we are saved through faith: and not that of ourselves: it is a gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast."

Father, thank you for leading our hearts to the Truth that is Jesus Christ. In His name we pray, amen.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

I am in the middle of a battle with a spider at my house. The little fellow built a web from one bush in my yard to another. The web stretches right across the walkway, blocking anybody who wants to come to the front door. I knocked it down about a week ago. The very next day, he had built the web back. So I made sure the second time that it was knocked completely down and destroyed. Mr. spider built it right back. Yesterday, I all but pulled up the bushes so he could not rebuild. But this morning, the web was back! Persistent isn't he?

I only hope I can be as persistent in my walk with Christ as that spider is with his web in my yard. Satan is constantly trying to knock us down and keep us from rebuilding. But like that spider, we need to never stop trying to build back all that the devil destroys. There is nothing he can knock down in our lives that Christ can't pick back up. Jesus defeated Satan at the Cross, and He has been whipping him ever since! Don't let Satan get the best of you. Show him who is in control of your life. Allow Jesus to frustrate Satan as much as Mr. spider is frustrating me. I have a plan today; Mr. spider is going down!

I John 3:8 says, "For this purpose the Son of Man was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil."

Father, thank you for helping us fight Satan. Please help us to always put You in complete control of our lives.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Not having to go to church on Sundays: Zero dollars.

Not having to be nice to other people: Zero dollars.

Not having to read the Bible: Zero dollars.

Not having to ask for forgiveness: Zero dollars.

Having to spend eternity in hell: CHRISTless.

Romans 10:13 says, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

Father, thank you for Your Son Jesus. Help us to always put Him first and to bring honor and Glory to His precious name. Touch the hearts of those who have not yet come to Him. In Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Have It Your Way

Remember the Burger King jingle from the 70's? "Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don't upset us. All we ask is that you let us serve it your way." I can't believe I can still remember it. But as a customer, there is nothing any better than having your food made the way you want it! You are the boss. You are the one paying for it. You should have it your way. Right?

Well having it our way might be good when it comes to a BK order, but just about any other time in life, having it God's way is much better! In John, chapter 21, the disciples were out fishing all night but hadn't caught anything. The next morning, Jesus told them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. Bingo! Their nets almost burst at the seams with huge fish! How do you think those disciples felt? They were all professional fisherman. Yet, their way of fishing had left them empty-handed all night. But when they turned to God's way, they experienced instant success. It is easy for us to get in a rut and to continue doing things the same 'ole way. But sooner or later, our way will fail. God's way will never fail! Have you asked Him where you should cast your net today?

Proverbs 3: 5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thy own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths."

Father, have it Your way. I know Your way is perfect. Please give me the strength and wisdom to do Your will. In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sweet Seasons

I found this on the Internet and wanted to share with you:

There was a man who had four sons. He wanted them to learn to not judge things too quickly, so he sent them each on a quest to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away. He sent his first son in the winter, his second in the spring, his third in summer and his youngest in the fall. When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen.

The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted. The second son said no – it was covered with green buds and full of promise. The third son disagreed, he said it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen. The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment.

After hearing all his son’s responses, the wise father replied, “Sons, you are all right — because you have each seen only one season in the tree’s life. But you cannot judge a tree, or a person, or anything else by only one season. Most things can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons have come to pass”.

I think each of us has judged someone or something prematurely, and we have also probably experienced the pain of being judged that way. Lord, forgive us! We need to give each other the benefit of the doubt! We need to look closely enough and long enough to see the big picture before we rule things out. God does that for us all the time. There’s so much work to be done!

1st Corinthians 4:5 says, "Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God."

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Evil Is Gone

The mastermind behind the DC sniper killings is dead. John Muhammad was put to death by lethal injection earlier this week, as many of his victim's families looked on. If ever there was a reason for the death penalty, he was it! What a monster! We will never forget the panic and fear he spread throughout the Washington D.C. area in 2002. I still remember being paralysed by the Media coverage, afraid he would strike closer to home. Actually he did. He and his little punk-accomplice did shoot and kill someone in Montgomery, Alabama. That proved to be the evidence that caught the deadly duo. Can you believe that as I write these words, I am unsuccessfully fighting back tears. The reason is two-fold. The first reason is simple- I feel very sad for the families of those innocent victims. The second reason, though, is a little more complicated.

Remember the saying, "Why do we demand justice for others but grace for ourselves?" That's kind of where I am at this point. In God's eyes, their sins are no more terrible than mine. How can I judge that evil pair for what they did, when I have sinned against God just as bad. Oh, I have never murdered anyone, mind you. But I have lied, cheated, lost my temper, cussed-out people, and even more bad things than I am too ashamed to even admit. I ask for, and expect God to forgive me. Shouldn't He also forgive them? Yes. My Bible says Jesus' precious blood spilled at the Cross was sufficient for every sin-even cold-blooded, calculated murder. I read in the newspaper where one of the victim's family members said they have already forgiven the killers. Why do I have such a hard time doing the same thing? It might be normal, but it isn't healthy.

Romans 12:4 says, "Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not."

Oh My dear Lord, please help us to forgive. You know better than anyone just how hard that can be. Or maybe it is simple for You because You are God Almighty, richly flowing with tender Love and Mercy. But Father, please help us with it. In Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Eerie Coincidence

Country and rockabilly singer Johnny Horton (North To Alaska) was haunted by premonitions of his own death. To those who were close to him, Johnny had an unusual fear of dying. He was married to Billie Jean, Hank Williams Sr.'s Widow. Williams had died on New Year's Day in 1952. Later that year, Horton and Billie Jean tied the knot. On November 5, 1960, Horton was killed in an auto accident. He had just finished performing at the Skyline Club in Austin, Texas. Incredibly, that was also the last place Hank Williams performed before his tragic death. Both men had kissed Billy Jean at the exact same place and on the exact same cheek before each one's death. Coincidence?

Many people didn't believe Jesus was the messiah that had been prophesied generations earlier in the Old Testament. Many thought he was just an ordinary man, despite the mountains of evidence suggesting otherwise. For whatever reason, people chose to overlook His virgin birth, His performed miracles, His raising people from death, and His power over nature. The Bible documents over 50 prophesies from the Old Testament that Christ fulfilled in the New Testament. A modern statistician decided to calculate the odds of any ordinary man fulfilling just 7 of those prophesies. The probability was staggering! He put it into terms that is easier to understand. He said suppose you take one quarter and paint it red. Then you fill up the state of Texas knee-high with regular quarters. Mix all those quarters together, and then blind-fold a man and tell him to walk into that "state" of quarters as far as he wants and pick one. The odds of him picking that exact painted quarter would be the same as any one man fulfilling just 7 of those Biblical prophesies. Coincidence? No way! Jesus is the Christ!

Luke 2:11 says, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."

Father, thank you for sending Your Son Jesus to save us from our sins. Help us to truly follow Him in all that we do. In Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

It was on this day that the ore-hauling freighter Edmund Fitzgerald sank on The Great Lakes during a fierce storm in 1975. A song written and performed by Gordon Lightfoot tells of the sad story. The lyrics are haunting. One line from the song has always stuck out in my mind. I have a great fear of being shipwrecked, so the lyric is extra scary to me. It says: Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours. I tremble with fear thinking about how awful it would be to just tread the ice-cold, murky water waiting for rescue...or worse. Unfortunately, all 29 men drowned in the storm. If you have never heard the song, check it out sometime. Or even better, click on the following link to read the lyrics. Scary stuff!

Although most of us will never have to battle being shipwrecked, our problems can still be very frightening to us. I have often wondered where God goes at the times when I need Him most. The Bible says He never, ever leaves us. But it can still seem like He is a million miles away sometimes. I wish I knew the words to share with those who find themselves at their scariest moment. All I know to do is pray and have faith that God is there, and will help. Are you "shipwrecked" today? You know, God still performs miracles! Call out to Him.

Mark 5:36 says, "...Be not afraid, only believe."

Father, help us when we need You most. It is so hard to just simply have faith without also having fear. Be with us, Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Calling Myself

Today's devotion is taken from the Feb 7th entry of Our Daily Bread.

As I was moving my cell phone, laptop, and assorted books and papers from one room to another, the "regular" phone rang. I hurriedly set down my stuff and rushed to answer the call before the answering machine kicked in. "Hello", I said. No reply. I said hello again when I heard rustling, but still no response. So I hung up and went back to my stuff on the floor. When I picked up my cell phone, I realized that I had accidentally speed-dialed my home phone number. I laughed at myself, but then wondered: How often are my prayers more like calling myself than calling God?

Are your prayers a checklist of things that you want? Do you get frustrated when God does not answer those prayers the way you want? Or maybe He answers those prayers but not as quickly as you had hoped. When we call on God, He will help us. But He will only help us in His perfect way and time. He knows so much better what we need than we do. So why get frustrated? Just let go, and let God.

Lamentations 3:25 says, "The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him."

Lord, forgive me for calling on myself instead of calling on You. Teach me to depend on You 100%. In Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


We can all read the Bible and still get confused about what it actually says. Let's face it, the Bible can be very confusing in parts. And we have been warned by bible scholars to not take verses out of context; we must read several verses and put them all together to get the true meaning. The issue I want to look at today is what sins will send a Believer to hell. Suicide? Murder? Rape? Some believe that the murder and rape can be forgiven because the sinner has a chance to repent, but the suicide is final since one can't repent from that. I am not a preacher or scholar. But my conviction is even suicide can be forgiven. The Bible says that only Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is unforgivable. Since the bible doesn't say suicide is unforgivable, I have to believe that Jesus' death on the Cross was even sufficient for that.

In my classroom, we were talking about how long it takes an object to free-fall from various heights. There is a formula that can be used to determine the answers. We found that the objects that fell from the top of the World Trade Center on 9-11 took roughly 10 seconds to fall to earth. One of my students said, "You mean the person I saw jump from the top of the building hit the ground in less than 10 seconds?". Then the conversation shifted to the fact that that person committed suicide since they jumped to their death. So I asked what the alternative to jumping would have been. So the choice was for the person to just stand there and be burned alive, or jump and make the inevitable instantaneous and painless. Then one of my students said that jumping would not have been suicide since the person would not have been in their right mind. My argument then is what about the person that puts a gun to their head and pulls the trigger. Are they in their right mind? My deepest conviction is that Jesus died for ALL our sins...including suicide.

Romans 6:14 says, "For sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are NOT under the law, but under GRACE." (emphasis added)

Father, thank you for sending Your only Son Jesus to die for ALL our sins. Help us to find comfort when we experience a friend who has committed suicide. In Jesus name, Amen.