Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Mighty Flowing Fountain

If you're like me, your Email Inbox gets filled daily with "facts". I tend to wonder how many of the things I receive are real. But one day, a fact was Emailed to me and really caught my attention. So I did a little research on the fact and it was indeed true. It was concerning the Amazon River. Did you know that the Amazon rushes over 45,000 gallons of fresh water into the Atlantic Ocean every second! This rush of fresh water is so powerful that it washes away all the salt water for 200 miles. In other words, from the mouth of the Amazon to 200 miles out into the Atlantic, the water is so fresh that you can dip a cup in it and drink it. That's actually how the Amazon was discovered. A sailor was about 200 miles off the coast when he noticed he was sailing in fresh water. He turned his ship toward the coast and discovered the mighty Amazon.

Wouldn't it be great if Christians were like the Amazon. Just think, we could all go to Church on Sunday and get totally charged up and rejuvenated and then rush out into the work place the next week like a huge fresh wave for Christ. Just imagine how much salt we could chase away from work, school, grocery store, everywhere...just by allowing the freshness of Jesus to flood through us. Christ has yet to come back as He promised, maybe because there is still someone you or I know that is not saved. Maybe God is waiting on us to personally share His Good News with them. We would not hesitate to go into a burning building to save them, or at least scream and yell to warn them there was a fire. So why would we not warn them of the huge "Fire" that is coming there way? Let's all rush out and flood them with the freshness of Jesus.

Isaiah 62:5 says, "As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you."

Father please help us rush out and share Your Great news with the world. In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Trust Me

Back in the Old Days, a hand shake was all that was needed to solidify a contract. In contrast, it takes several pages of legal jargon and scores of sign heres and initial theres for a contract today. Back in the day, people never even considered locking their doors at night. But today, however, it is wise to keep them locked, even in the middle of the day. What has happened to trust? It seems so hard to build trust anymore because of the number of times we get let down. Not only is it hard to trust others anymore, but it is also hard for others to trust us. A promise just isn't what it used to be. How many times have we let others down in the past? I know we are only human, born to make mistakes, but you know as well as I do that once trust is broken, it can be extremely difficult to regain.

How many times would it take of somebody breaking your trust before you simply threw your hands in the air and gave up? How many times of them breaking your heart before you finally decide you were just a fool to trust and believe in them in the first place? I know I have had my share of let-downs. Not only have others betrayed my trust, but I have broken theirs as well. But aren't we lucky that we serve a God who trusts us no matter how many times we sin against Him? If other people did to us only occasionally what we do to Christ daily, we would never trust them again. But our Jesus forgives us no matter what we do or how often we do it, and He even forgives us before we ask Him. What an incredible demonstration of the power of God's Grace! I know that there is a big difference between forgiving somebody and trusting somebody after they have betrayed us. Maybe the forgiving part is easier than the trusting part. But with Christ's help, we can learn to do both. And that's a promise we can "shake" on.
Psalm 103:8 says, "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy."

Father, thank you for forgiving and trusting us when we mess up. Please help us to do the same when others betray us. In Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Spiraling Out Of Control

Insomnia has reared its ugly head again. I should be used to it by now. At least I have a few more days off work so I can get my sleeping pattern back on track. When I can't sleep, I surf the Web. I just can't believe the amount of violence that has occured over the past day or so. Nationally, I am sure you've heard about the man that attempted to blow up a jumbo jet in Detroit. He said he was working for al-Qaida. I am not sure if he really was or not, but authorities are investigating. Then I heard about a Major with the Salvation Army who was robbed in North Little Rock. He was shot and killed in front of his three young kids, ages 4, 6, and 8. Soooo sad. In Phoenix, a 5-year old girl was abducted by a man in a pick-up truck. Luckily, police caught the bad guy, and the little girl was rescued safe and sound. Locally, there was a bar fight tonight at one of the night clubs in downtown Dothan. At least three people were shot. I am not sure if any were killed, but Police had to converge on the local hospital to keep the peace and prevent a riot. What in the world is going on?

Is our society more violent today than it was in the past, or is it that we just have more News people out there covering stories? A quick look into the history of this country, and the world for that matter, will confirm people have always been violent. But I think we have reached an all-time high. We have all read of how Satan possessed people back in Bible times. There are accounts of people foaming at the mouth and writhing around uncontrollably in the streets. Satan may not possess people in the same way today, but there is no doubt that he is still hard at work. How else can one explain the unspeakable crimes that people commit, especially against innocent children? We need Jesus! And at a time when we need Him most, there is such a push to take Him out of our schools, the work place, and just about everywhere else. The further Jesus is pushed out of the picture, the higher violence seems to escalate. Coincidence? I don't think so. But no matter how bad it gets or how violent our society becomes, I truly believe that God is still in total control. And one day, He will completely remove all the violence that has infested our society. Won't that be an awesome day?

Psalm 145:20 says, "The Lord watches over all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy."

Father, we may never understand why You allow so much violence in our world. But please remind us that You have a purpose for everything. Lord, it is really hard to keep the faith when so many bad things are happening all around us. Please help us to stay focused on You. In Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, December 25, 2009

One For All

Last night while waiting for "Santa", I was watching a documentary about killer bees. These Africanized bees are much more aggressive than the European bees. When they attack, it is relentlessly. I learned that 500 stings from these bees inject as much venom as a single rattle snake bite! Some hives can contain tens of thousands of these killer bees. From the moment danger is detected until the bees have completely engulfed their target, as little as 10 seconds could have passed. Each bee stings only once and then dies. Like little soldiers guarding their home, these guys don't hesitate on embarking on what boils down to a suicide mission-all for the protection and betterment of the entire group. In other words, these bees are willing to die to save the others.

Jesus was like that. He was a King in heaven. But He was willing to humble himself and trade in His Kingship for slave ship. He was willing to die in order to save the rest of us. The difference between Jesus and those bees is that the bees are reacting to a natural instinct. But Jesus made a conscious decision to die for us. He did not have to do it, but He loved us so much, He did. He was more than willing to sacrifice His life to save ours. We always hear people say things like, "I would die for my child" or "I would die for my friend" or whatever. But how many of us would die, not just for those we love, but also for a stranger, EVERY stranger? Jesus did. You know, it's kind of funny: When it is our birthday, people bring us gifts. But on Jesus' birthday, He brought the gift...the Ultimate Gift! Praise God!

Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Father, thank you for loving us so much to send Jesus. I hope You had a very nice "Birthday", Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Twisted Christmas

There was a music CD out a few years ago called "Bob Rivers Twisted Christmas". The CD contained parody songs of Christmas favorites. Most of the songs were harmless, but I can see how some people would get offended by them. That CD was just a reflection of how our society has been treating Christmas. Christmas has truly become twisted, even by Christians. Recently, there has been a move to remove "Christ" from Christmas. Taking Christ out of Christmas would be like taking preach out of preacher or good out of goodness. Christmas celebration has changed so much that most people don't really even know what the Bible has to say about it. In fact, the Bible says nothing about Christmas. Two of the four Gospels mention the birth of Christ, but neither gives any clues as to what time of the year He was born. We see Nativity scenes on cards and pictures that are not in accordance with what the Bible says. In fact, some preachers try to convince us that celebrating Christmas is a "sin" because it is not backed by the Holy Scripture.

How do you feel about this? Does it truly matter if we are celebrating the birth of Christ in any certain way? Since the Bible is so "silent" concerning His birth, is it really all that important to celebrate it anyway? My opinion is YES! Although we may not celebrate Christmas the way it was originally intended, celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior is a great way to honor Him and to show everybody around us how much we love Him. Who cares how many wise men came to the infant Jesus? Who cares how many people were present at Jesus' birth? Who cares what time of year it was? To me, the true celebration of Christmas is not in the details. The true celebration of Christmas is that He was born for you and for me. And even more important than that, He also died for you and for me. Don't let anyone make you feel bad about how you may or may not be celebrating Christmas. As long as we make Jesus the true reason for the season, I think He would smile down on us no matter what.

Luke 2:10 says, "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord."

Father, thank you for sending Your Son Jesus to save us from our sins. Please help us do the things at Christmas that are pleasing to You. In Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fairy Tales

Is it any wonder how many people grow up as Christians and then "turn" from the faith a little later in life? We as parents tell our kids many fairy tales when they are young. For example, we tell them about Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and who knows what else. We adults can slice it up however we choose, but the bottom line is we are lying to our kids. Then as they get older and start to realize that those things from their childhood are not true, they begin to wonder about God. Some conclude that if their parents were "lying" about all the other things, then maybe Jesus is just a made-up story too. Can you see where someone may question that?

I told my daughter all the fairy tales too about Santa, the EasterBunny, and such, but there is a huge difference when it comes to Jesus. After she got old enough to see that those other things are just make-believe, she still saw me worshiping God and reading His Bible everyday. I could admit to her that all those other things are not real, but Jesus Christ most certainly is real. I don't really see a problem with all the fairy tale stuff when the kids are young. But if I want to see my child still belive in the One and Only true God when she gets older, I need to live like I preach. In my daughter's eyes, it is obvious that I don't believe in Santa or the other things from her childhood, but she also can see just how much I DO believe in God. I think that is very important. Telling our kids about Jesus is a good start. But we need to continue telling them about Christ by living the part. Are you living in such a way that your kids know you are a Christian? There are many eyes watching us.

Genesis 18:19 says, "I have chosen him so that he will direct his children and houshold after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just."

Father, help us to teach our kids about You Son Jesus. Give us strength to live what we preach. In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Last Kiss

In 1964, a one-hit wonder group, known as J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers, had a major hit with the song Last Kiss. The song was based on a true story. Just two years earlier, Jeanette Clark and J.L. Hancock, both 16 years old, were out on a date just a few days before Christmas in 1962. Their car was struck by a tractor-trailer on a road in rural Barnsville, Georgia. A local gas station attendant helping with the recovery of the bodies did not even recognize his own daughter. In the song, the girl dies in her boyfriend's arms. The lyrics are as follows: Where oh where can my baby be. The Lord took her away from me. She's gone to heaven so I have to be good, so I can see my baby when I leave this world.

One of the hardest things to comprehend about Salvation is that it has nothing to do with how good we are. Salvation is a gift from God, not something we can earn. In our society, many things we do are judged based on comparisons to other people. No matter how "good" we are, we will never even come close to the Goodness of Christ. And regardless of how much "better" we are than other people, in God's eyes, we fail just as miserably as they do. When I took Calculus in college, my professor gave the class a diagnostic test the first day to ascertain our strengths and weaknesses. I called him a few hours after the test to see how well I did. He told me I did better than everybody else in the class; I got 2 problems right out of 20 while everybody else only got one right. I might have done better than they did, but I still failed just as badly as the other students in the class. We can't earn heaven no matter how well we do. As Christmas draws closer, let's truly thank God for His incredible "Christmas gift" of Jesus Christ.

Titus 3:5 says, "God our Savior saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy."

Father, thank you so much for Your precious Son Jesus. Help us to remember that He is the true meaning of Christmas. In Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Enough Is Enough

I shouldn't be surprised, but I am. Have you heard about the 8-year old boy in Massachusetts who drew a stick-figure of Jesus on the Cross? The class assignment was to draw a picture relating to Christmas. When the teacher saw his drawing, she immediately summoned the office. Not only was the boy suspended from school, but he was also required to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. This is no joke; It is all over the news. How much more of this can we Christians stand? Even if you are not a Christian, what did the boy do wrong? He followed the instructions of the teacher to the letter. He drew a picture based on his belief of Christmas. Would it have been o.k. if he had drawn a mythical character such as Santa or an elf? I guess our freedom of speech and expression doesn't apply if it involves Jesus. What an absolute shame.

As a public educator, I am appalled at what has happened to that precious child. No wonder so many parents are home-schooling their children. We really should not be surprised about this, as Jesus warned us that we would be persecuted for His name's sake. But it still is almost unbelievable. Christmas is about Santa, elves, reindeer, and such. But that is not all it is about. The true meaning of Christmas is Christ. And that 8-year old boy showed a great deal of maturity and understanding (even more than the teacher and principal of the school). If Bailey had drawn that at her school, I would have been very proud of her. And knowing her school teachers and principal, they would have been proud of her too. Enough is enough!

I Corinthians 10:31 says, "Whether ye therefore eat or drink or do whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."

Father, bless that 8-year old child who loves you enough to show everybody. Teach us to be more like that. In Jesus name, Amen.
UPDATE: The school is now denying that they suspended the boy. But read the story yourself. It sounds like they are trying to cover-up.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Rock n Roll Devotions

Before I write today's devotion, I want to ask you for a favor. For the past several months, I have been kicking around the idea of writing a book called Rock n Roll Devotions. I am very fortunate to have spent the past 22 years as a radio DJ. In those years, I have studied and researched hundreds of the songs that I play. I am thinking about writing devotions that come from those rock n roll songs. What do you think? Please take a moment and let me know your thoughts and if you would be interested in receiving a copy. Now, on with today's devotion.

Elliot had a girlfriend named Randy. He was absolutely crazy about her. He and a couple other college buddies decided to form a rock band and see if they could make a million dollars. Elliot was having trouble coming up with the lyrics for a song about Randy. So he rented a farm house in New Jersey and spent a few days there just working on his song. The time paid off! He finally finished the lyrics, and it would go on to become a #1, million-selling record. At the last minute, he changed the title of the song from Randy, to a name that was easier to sing. Elliot, better known as Elliot Laurie, the lead singer of Looking Glass, made a million dollars from his smash hit Brandy(You're a Fine Girl). It topped Billboard's charts in the summer of 1972.

Inspiration can come to us in many different ways. But sometimes we need to just go and get away from everything and be alone with God. I believe we hear God the most when we are listening the best. And the best way to listen is when we spend quiet time with just Him. It does not have to necessarily be a long period of time. Sometimes just a few minutes alone with God can make a big difference in our day. The important thing is that we make the time for Him each and every day. He may not inspire us to write a million-dollar song, but He will definitely have us singing a "fine" tune.

Ephesians 4:23 says, "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind."

Father, help us to remember to pause everyday to seek Your will. We can do all things through Your Son Jesus Christ. For it's in His name that we pray, Amen.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Me And Bobby McGee

Kris Kristofferson wrote the hit song Me And Bobby McGee in the late 60's, and many artists have recorded it since then. The biggest recording was by Janice Joplin in 1971. She took the song to #1. In last Friday's devotion, I mentioned that Otis Redding's Sitting On The Dock Of the Bay was the first posthumous #1 song in history, as Redding died in a plane crash just 3 days after recording the song. Well Joplin died just 4 days after recording her hit, making it the second posthumous #1 hit in history. There are some very clever lyrics in the song. My favorite line is, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." The more I recite that line, the deeper the meaning goes for me. After some serious pondering, I can understand how losing everything would give one a sense of true freedom.

In order to gain true freedom in Christ, we also must give up everything. We must be willing to trade in our old life for a brand-new one. I admit it can be a scary moment. Most of us like to be in total control of things around us. But we must be willing to hand over those controls to the One and only true God. I have discovered that the freedom I have in Christ is much greater than the bondage I suffered without Him. Jesus has truly freed my life from a lot of very bad things. And now all I want to do is tell everybody around me about Him. Have you discovered the freedom of Christ? Call on Him right now.

Galatians 5:1 says, "So Christ has truly set us free."

Father, thank you for freeing my soul from hell. Help me spread the Good News about Jesus. In Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay

It was on this date, December 10, 1967 that the Georgia-born soul singer Otis Redding was killed in a plane crash. The crash happened just three days after he recorded his biggest hit ever. Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay went to number one on Billboard's Pop Charts, making it the first Posthumous #1 hit in history. Have you ever really stopped and listened to the lyrics? It describes a man just passing the time by sitting and watching ships come and go in the bay. It describes a very peaceful moment of relaxation. I wish I had more time to just sit and relax. From the time my alarm sounds in the morning until I lie back down at night, it seems like I do nothing but rush rush rush. That could be a lot of the reason why my blood pressure spiked last week. I need to slow down some and "smell the roses". Don't we all?

Jesus was a great model for each one of us. He spent much of His time working, but He also spent time simply resting. Some Scriptures document Jesus just hanging around with His disciples and friends, enjoying all their company. Some Scriptures also document Jesus off alone praying to the Father. As hard as Jesus worked while here on earth, He also spent a lot of time "enjoying" Himself. We, too, should do the same thing. All work and no play is almost as bad as all play and no work. When was the last time you just did nothing? With Christmas on our doorstep, we are sure to find ourselves running around, almost killing ourselves trying to get it all done. But let's be wise and also find some time to just relax and simply enjoy being alive!

Psalm 131:2 says, "I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me."

Father, teach us how to slow down and spend more time simply relaxing. We know that while we are at rest, we may be able to hear You speak to us the most. In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, December 7, 2009

What Goes Up Must Come Down

Late Saturday afternoon, the SEC College Football Championship was played between the top-2 teams in the nation: The Florida Gators and the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Gators were led by Senior quarterback Tim Tebow. He is one of the greatest leaders to ever play the game! Not only has he been a "miracle" worker for his team, winning 2 National Championships and possibly a third, but he has also been a strong Christian leader in his community and around the world. Because he is such a great person, the Media has built him up to stardom status over the past three years. It has been non-stop Tim Tebow this and Tim Tebow that...many football fans around the country are tired of hearing about him, especially non-Christians. Through all the great performances on and off the field, Tebow has always remained humble in interviews, and he ALWAYS talks about Jesus Christ to anybody and everybody who will listen. Well Saturday night, he met his match and was unable to come-back against Alabama. Tebow finally lost one of the biggest games he has ever played in college football. The Tebow bashers have been out in full-force all over the Internet since Saturday night. What a shame. Tebow did not build himself up, the Media did. As the final minutes were ticking away in the game, the cameras zoomed-in on him sitting on the sideline. He was filled with emotions and literally sobbing.

Being a Christian is the greatest lifestyle I have ever experienced! God has blessed me beyond words. Many people who are not Christians, and even some who are, expect us to be perfect if we are out telling people about Jesus. We kind of get built up too, not by the Media, but by those who watch us. They're waiting for us to make a little mistake so they can pounce on us. Well, we will make that mistake; We are not perfect. Don't let others make you feel bad just because you profess Christ but still make mistakes. Other people may not understand that being a Christian doesn't mean you are perfect, but Jesus understands. I have had my share of mistakes in the past, and I am positive I will in the future as well. But I will never stop praising and sharing Christ with others. If you have accepted Christ, He forgives you for any sin you may ever commit. We should allow the guilt of that sin to motivate us to repent, but we should never allow it to be used by others to break us down. Remember, God is for us, no matter who else may be against us.

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

Father, thank you for such a great Christian leader in Tim Tebow. Please help us to remember that although we may not win all of our personal contests, you love us anyway. In Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Time For A Cool Change

Back in the early 80's, the Little River Band had a song called Cool Change. The lyrics of the song came to mind yesterday in a big way. About 2nd period, I start feeling dizzy and light-headed. I have high blood pressure, and I knew it was acting up. My face was red as fire! I went down to the school nurse and within 10 minutes, the paramedics were there. I am embarrassed to even tell you how high it was. I now have to take my BP medicine three times per day. I really need a cool change. My weight is out of control and I don't exercise like I used to do. I have had some close calls and scary moments with my BP, but yesterday was the straw! With God's help, a new, healthier me will emerge!

In my prayers last night, I thanked God for giving me another day. I don't know how many more I have ( I sure hope it is millions and millions). But the days that I do have left, I really need to use them to honor God more than what I am doing. Why I have allowed myself to get so out of shape and unhealthy, I will never know. But I believe God gave me a wake-up call yesterday...or maybe I should say ANOTHER wake-up call. I have a beautiful daughter that needs her daddy. She needs a healthy daddy. And today, I have started back on that journey. Praise God! Now if you will excuse me, I got to go get a couple of carrot sticks and broccoli stalks...

Matthew 6:8 says, "For your Father knows your needs even before you ask Him."

Father, please heal my BP and help me to live a healthier life in Your honor. In Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Oh No, Here Comes A Thought

I love the 70's sitcom All In The Family. I recently bought a few DVD's of the 2nd and 3rd seasons. Archie and Edith Bunker crack me up! They play their parts so well, they almost seem married in real-life. Archie, the always-mad-at-the-world bigot, and Edith, the always-happy "Dingbat" make the show all by themselves. I was watching an episode last night in which Edith got an idea and shared it with Archie. As usual, the idea was a little lame, so Archie popped off at her. He said, "Edith, the next time a thought comes your way, DUCK!"

That could be good advice for all of us. I pray and ask God to lead my steps and thoughts everyday. But how can one tell when a coming-thought is from God or from some place else? We all get thoughts that we think came from God, but then later, we realize it was only our thought, and it was a bad one. I guess it takes lots of practice and lots of praying to get it right all the time. But until then, we really need to size-up our thoughts and decide if they are truly from God or not. Until we learn the difference, maybe we should take Archie's advice. Maybe we should "DUCK" from some of our thoughts.

James 1:5 says, "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you."

Father, please help us discern those thoughts You give us from other thoughts that come from somewhere else. The Bible teaches us that You will give wisdom to all whom ask. Lord, please give me the wisdom to do Your will. In Jesus name, Amen.