Tuesday, October 4, 2011


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.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Evil Amoung Us

It was on this day nine years ago when the terror began, and it lasted for 23 excruciating days before the killers were finally apprehended.  "Still recovering from the terrorist attacks of 9/11, innocent people in the Washington D.C. area found themselves under siege once more-by an unseen, unknown, and seemingly unstoppable enemy." [Angie Cannon of U.S. News and World Report]  We will never forget the pain, anger, and sadness that John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo injected into the lives of their victim's families and friends when they murdered at least 10 people and wounded even more with a stolen Bushmaster XM-15 semiautomatic .223 caliber rifle equipped with a reflex sight at ranges of between 50 and over 100 yards.  Muhammad was executed by lethal injection on November 10, 2009, and Malvo was sentenced to 6 consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.  He could still be extradited to Alabama or Louisiana for prosecution stemming from crimes in those states as well.

I have never experienced the magnitude of pain and sorrow that these families did, and I am not sure how one goes about forgiving such hideous acts.  I do know that forgiveness is a process, just like healing.  I can't imagine how a human being could possibly process all the emotions that are involved with losing a loved one to murder.  But I do know that Jesus Christ is a Master at helping people deal with such things.  Jesus helps us sort out problems through our friends, family, and counselors.  If you are dealing with an issue right now that involves you having to forgive someone, and you feel there is no way you will ever be able to do that, ask Jesus for help.  Always remain open-minded to the paths and avenues through which He may lead you.  If you are unable to forgive at this moment, don't beat yourself up over it.  We are only human, and God understands our struggles.  He created us, and He knows us even better than we know ourselves.  Don't give up.  With Jesus, there is always hope!

Romans 2:7 says, "To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, He will give eternal life."

Father, please wrap your loving arms around those who may need You most.  Help us all learn how to forgive, just as You have forgiven us. In Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Concentric Circles

In Geometry, concentric circles are defined as circles that have the same center point. You can create concentric circles by tossing a rock into a pond. After the rock hits the water, ripples or waves form and flow out from the center. These circles grow larger as they continue flowing away from the center. This is precisely what happens during a tsunami. The waves from a tsunami can travel up to 500 miles per hour and thousands of miles from the center. These waves travel out in all directions with incredible energy. I guess we will never forget the tsunami of 2004 that killed thousands of people. The power created by these concentric circles is unbelievable!

When we put Jesus in charge and at the center of our lives, many things change for the better. We become happier, live more peacefully, and gain tons of hope. Like ripples on a pond, these changes flow out from us in all directions and have the power to change others. Have you ever known someone who had such an electric personality that you were drawn to them? You can also have that kind of personality that draws people to you. And when people are drawn to you, they will see Christ as the reason. Just toss the Solid Rock that is our Savior into the center of your life. The ripples that result can be very powerful!

Proverbs 3:6 says, "In all thy ways, acknowledge Him and he shall direct thy path."

Father, I am proud to have You at the center of my life. I ask you to help me win souls for Your Kingdom, according to Your perfect will. In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Follow These Simple Rules

I had an awesome time in Salt Springs, Florida this past weekend!  It was amazing to see all my family, and especially amazing to see how much kids and grand kids have grown.  I didn't even recognize some of them.  Each family had their own personal cottage for the weekend, and I stayed in #17.  It was about as nice as being at home.  One thing that kind of amused me, though, was a form that was left on the coffee table for tenants.  It read, "Welcome to our cottage.  Please follow these simple rules."  It did seem simple, at first. There were only 8 rules...until I noticed there were some on the other side of the form, too.  The flip-side contained 14 more,  for a total of 22 "simple" rules.

In the Old Testament of the Bible, God gave Moses certain "rules" to follow.  Known as the Mosaic Law, those rules were intended for the people of Israel.  Such rules in the Old Testament covered a variety of topics including the Sabbath (seventh day), animal sacrifices, the Levitical priesthood, circumcision, special holy days, burning incense, tithing, instrumental music, and dancing in worship.  I have to admit that I have a very hard time just trying to remember all those rules, and I can only imagine how hard it must have been to obey all of them.  But the good news, at least for us today, is that these rules are no longer binding.  God gave the rules, and only He can change them, which He did when He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins.  Hebrews Chapter 8 says,

"Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah - not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant . . ." says the LORD. “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days," says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people . . . In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away."

Father, thank-you for the New Covenant that is Jesus Christ.  I personally accept it and will always have my faith in Him.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

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, 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 so very hard to regain.
How many times would it take 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 decided you were just a fool to trust and believe 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 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, perhaps 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

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Teaching Moment

Yesterday in my classroom, a very good opportunity came up to teach my students about something beyond the regular curriculum.  Although a sad topic, most students were very involved in the discussion.  We got to talking about some of their classmates who had been called to heaven by the Lord.  Most of those who had already passed were involved in motor-vehicle collisions.  But two of our Dothan High students stood out in my mind as dying from something other than a car crash:  One was struck and killed by lightning, and the other was playing a stupid game of Russian Roulette.  A few of my students were not familiar with this deadly "game".  After explaining it to the class, most could not believe a person with any sense would play such a game.  So I questioned them about it.  I asked if any of them thought they might ever try it.  One student told me, "I know peer pressure can cause students to do some dumb things, but I don't think any pressure would cause me to do something that dumb".  100% of the class agreed that the game was too risky and that their lives were much more important to them, their friends, and their families to try something so stupid.  So then I asked how many of them text and drive at the same time.  Silence....

I was not judging my students, because Lord knows I have texted while driving before, too.  But when I think about it afterwards, I realize that it was just as dangerous to do that as it would be to play Russian Roulette.  But texting while driving is much worse because there are a lot of innocent people on the road that can be affected by it.  I will never forget when I lived in New Jersey and learned about a 17-year old that had been drinking and driving.  He veered just a little too far over the center line and hit an on-coming car head-on.  It killed three people in that car...his mom, dad, and little brother.  They just happened to be driving on that road at that very moment.  To this day, he continues to struggle with his bad decision that wiped-out his family.  We all do dumb things, but God gave us a brain and expects us to use it.  Please don't drive while intoxicated nor when intexticated.  I'm challenging you as well as myself to never, ever do that again.

Father, please forgive us for continuing to do certain things that we know we should never do.  Help us to place our bibles on top of our cell phones while we are driving.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Family Matters

This coming weekend, I will be on my way to Salt Springs, Florida for a family reunion.  I am looking very forward to it!  Although I am ashamed to admit it, this will be the first one that I have attended in 3 years.  I haven't been absent from the past 3 reunions because of anything me family did to me.  I have been absent from the past 3 reunions simply because of my own self-centered, bull-headiness.  Each year that I would announce I wasn't going to attend, my family, though not too surprised, was still very understanding and encouraging.  You see, I have the best family in the world, and I know they always love me.  As I write this devotion, I am almost in tears, both happy ones and sad ones.  I am sad that I have wasted 3 years with them that I will never, ever get back.  But I also have happy tears too, because, well, I feel like I am coming home.  I feel like the Prodigal son, and just like the Father in the Bible story, my family will be waiting for me with open, forgiving arms.  Trust me, I am going to absolutely enjoy every single second of this trip!

If you are having any trouble with your family, whether it is a result of your own doing or theirs, I encourage you to make every attempt to patch it up as quickly as you possibly can.  You know, when it comes right down to it, family is all we truly have.  Think about those people in the world that have no family.  They probably feel extremely isolated, like tiny islands surrounded by a big ocean.  Can you only imagine their loneliness?  But God chose to bless most of us with family.  Why would we try to separate ourselves from the very thing God gave us?  I can not tell you what a relief I feel for reuniting with my family.  Is it now possibly your turn to do the same?

Father, thank-you for our families, and I ask you to please help those who may not be seeing things eye-to-eye.  In Jesus name, Amen.  

More Than Just Facts

Do you know where Jesus was born?  Do you know who His earthly parents were?  Do you know where He was baptized?  Do you know how old He was when He started His ministry?  Do you know where He was the night He was arrested?  Do you know who sentenced Him to death?  Do you know where He was crucified?  Do you know what day He was resurrected?  Now, the most important question of all?  Do you know Him personally?
As we begin a new week, let's focus less on all the facts about Jesus and more on getting to know Him on a personal basis.  The Bible teaches us that He longs to have a deep relationship with us.  Just think about the scope of that for a minute:  The Lord that created this whole world and everything in it still wants to be a personal basis with us.  How awesome is that?  
John 15:15 says, "I no longer call you servants....instead I call you friends."
Father, please help us get closer to You today.  Teach us how to have a personal relationship with the God of the universe.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bam! Pow! Bang!

Like many, I sure do enjoy watching a good college football game on TV.  This past weekend, I saw some of the most fierce, bone-crunching hits on the field that I think I have ever seen before.  You know the ones I am talking about.  The receiver goes out for a pass, gets to the end of his route, and then turns around to find the ball almost already in his arms.  He has great sight on the ball, but unfortunately for him, he is the only one in the entire world that doesn't have sight on the 290-pound defender closing in on his position ready to lower the boom.  And then, BOOM!  A collective "ugh" echos throughout the entire stadium.  But the receiver just bounces right back up and hurries back to his team's huddle, ready to go out for another pass.  How in the world can these guys take such violent hits and still keep going?  I'm told it is through daily exercise, intense training, and an almost inhuman will to play this game called college football.

The rest of us may not play college football on Saturdays, but I think we all know what it feels like to get blind-sided by things in our everyday lives.  Unexpected bills, aggravations at work, arguments with the family, and about a thousand other things stand in the shadows waiting to knock us out cold.  We can't avoid these things, but there is a way to keep them from knocking us out of the game.  We, too must exercise and train everyday.  But our trainers are Jesus Christ and His Holy Word.  When we take up our crosses daily, pray without ceasing, and meditate on His Word continously, we, too are able to bounce right back up and go out for another play.  I am thrilled that the leader of my team is Coach Jesus, and that he gives me an almost inhuman will to play this game called life.

I Corinthians 15:58 says, "Stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

Father, oh how I thank you for helping me back up when things knock me down.  Please help me to train even harder to be more prepared for 290-pound defenders.  In Jesus name, Amen

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Best Poem In The World

I am not sure if you have ever heard this poem before, but it sure is a good one!  I was asked to re-post it, and I am glad to do so.


I was shocked, confused, bewildered
As I entered Heaven's door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor.
But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp--The thieves, the liars,
the sinners,The alcoholics and the trash.
There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice.
Dan, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.
I nudged Jesus, 'What's the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How'd all these sinners get up here?
God must've made a mistake.'
And why's everyone so quiet,
So somber - give me a clue.
''Hush, child,' He said, 'they're all in shock.
No one thought they'd be seeing you.


Every saint has a PAST.... Every sinner has a FUTURE!

Free Ride

In the early 80's, Dan Hartman recorded a hit called I Can Dream About You.  Hartman was a long-time singer/songwriter who once played in the band The Edgar Winter Group, a hard-rock band formed by Edgar Winter of Beaumont Texas.  In fact, Hartman wrote one of their most memorable hits, Free Ride, in 1973.  It is a very catchy, up-tempo song that is now famous for a couple of very hot guitar licks.  I have always liked the song, but recently I really started focusing on the lyrics.  They are powerful, and although I know Hartman probably didn't have this in mind when he wrote the song, they almost sound like lyrics about Jesus Christ and His plan of Salvation.  Check this out:

 The mountain is high, the valley is low
And you're confused 'bout which way to go
So I flew here to give you a hand
And lead you into the promised land

So, come on and take a free ride (free ride)
Come on and take it by my side
Come on and take a free ride

Jesus does in fact offer us a free ride to heaven.  He booked our trip and paid for our tickets when He gave His life on Calvary.  All we have to do now is accept His gift.  Like the lyrics in the song say, there is no reason for us to be confused about which way to go, nor is there any reason we should wait any longer to accept His "once-in-a-lifetime" offer.  I can still remember before I became a Christian, that I would feel an almost unexplainable tugging sensation deep inside whenever I would contemplate God.  Of course now I know that that was the calling of the Holy Spirit.  I am so glad I finally answered His call.  I just wish I would have done it sooner.  The last verse of Free Ride is:

We got to do better
It's time to begin.
You know all the answers,
are a stones-throw within.

Father, thank-you for offering me a Free Ride to the Promised Land.  I pray for all those who are not Christians and who may be struggling with this decision.  In Jesus name, Amen.  


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Eternal Means Eternal

I tell my students to check over their tests very carefully after I grade them and hand them back.  I am only human, and I can accidentally mark some of their answers wrong when in fact they are right.  Once I am made aware of my mistake, I correct it immediately and add to their score.  Sometimes I mess up the other way, though.  Thankfully it doesn't happen much, but I have marked answers right before when they were actually wrong!  For the student, that is just the luck of the draw.  I will always grade in their favor.  I will add to their score when necessary but never will I subtract from it. 

Jesus promised us that if we believe in Him, He will give us Eternal life. John 3:16 is just one example of this Truth.  But is it possible to sin our way out of that gift?  Is it possible to lose our salvation?  I believe with all my heart that the answer is no.  Can our perfect God make a mistake?  Would He give us Eternal life one day and then take it away the next?  No way!  If He did that, it would not be Eternal life. If God places an A+ on our paper, we can rest assured that He will never lower it to a B or a C, no matter what mistakes we may make or how many times we may make them.  The more I learn about our Great Teacher Jesus Christ, the more I am amazed at His awesomeness!  Praise Him!

God, Where Are You?

My grandfather used to tell me this joke when I was younger.  He said one day an elderly man was driving his wife to the store when they passed two teenage lovers in a sports car.  The boy was driving the car and the girl was practically sitting in his lap.  The elderly man's wife questioned, "Why don't we still drive like that?  The elderly gentleman responded, "I have never moved". 

During our hard times, we may ask, "Where is God?"  But if we are truthful with ourselves, we know that we should be asking, "Where am I?"  God promises He will never leave us in our most trying and difficult times.  He is always sitting right there beside us in the driver's seat.  Sometimes though, we get complacent and slowly inch away from Him. Then all of a sudden, a big bump in the road jars us awake and we look around and wonder where God has gone.  But it is not He who has drifted from us, but instead, it is we who have drifted from Him.  He is still right there, guiding us through the bumpy parts.  We have all lived long enough to know that bumps in the road are simply a part of life and are bound to happen when we least expect it.  Today, let's work on getting back to God, and let's practice on staying there with Him through thick and thin.  Isn't it an awesome feeling to know that no matter how far away we may drift from Jesus, that He never truly drifts from us, and that He is always just one short "help" away?  Call Him. 

Hebrews 13:5 says, "I will never fail you nor abandon you."

Lord, thank-you for loving and caring for us so much that you will never leave us.  You are an amazing God...You are THE amazing God.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Most Amazing Miracle

  Are you facing a crisis right now?  Do you feel like the whole world is caving-in around you and that there is no escape?  Maybe your situation is not as severe as going through the death of a loved one or going through a divorce or even some kind of drug addiction.  But if you are like me, even your tiny problems can seem like huge, over-whelming monsters.  There is hope!  I have a key chain that reads, "With God, all things are possible".  Sure, we have all heard that a thousand times, and most of us quote it to people when they are struggling.  But do we truly believe that God can help us?  Do you truly believe that God can help you right this instant?  

Most of the time, it takes many steps to gradually crawl out of a hole and get ourselves back up.  Taking the first step is the most important:  Turning it over to the Master, Jesus Christ.  But sometimes, that help can come to us in an instant.  Remember when Jesus was peacefully sleeping during a storm on the Sea of Galilee?  His disciples were in a panic and feared that they were about to drown.  In a desperate attempt, they woke up Jesus and asked Him to save them.  It's one of my favorite miracles in the entire Bible.  Jesus calmed the storm instantly, not with a gradual decrease in rain and then a little less wind and then a clear sky.  No, He did it fast, quick, in an flash, and with three simple words, not 12 steps or 6 sessions, or anything like that.  I pray that God is spreading his arms over you right this second and saying, "Peace, be still".  Do you believe He can do that in your life today?  I sure do.  Remember, David didn't just stun Goliath.  He knocked him out cold, and in an instant!  Maybe at this very minute, God has already fired that rock towards your enemy.  I believe!  Do you?

Psalm 60:12 says, "With God, we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies."

Father, I am praying for those who may be facing a major crisis in their lives.  Remind us that You are the key to victory in every situation.  Although You do work in steps, we know You have the Power for an instant recovery!   

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Are We The Terminal Generation?

I love studying about Bible prophesy and the topic of End Times.  There is a wealth of information out there about it.  It fascinates me to hear the pros and cons.  Some people are absolutely certain in their belief that we will be the generation that witnesses the return of Jesus Christ.  Yet others hardly give it a second thought.  I am not sure which I believe; I am probably somewhere in the middle.  But no matter how convincing people may sound on either side of the argument, the truth is nobody really knows for certain.  But there is one truth about it that can not be ignored.  Whether we are the terminal generation or not, we might as well be.  Either we will see Jesus coming back for us, or we will see us returning back to Him.  The important thing is to be ready.

In a game of baseball, football, or basketball, a team always knows how much time it has left to come from behind.  But the subject of Jesus' return is not a game.  We don't know how much time we have left on the scoreboard.  Whether it is the first two minutes of the game or the final 2-minute warning, we must be winning at all times.  And the way we win is by accepting Christ now, not 10 minutes from now.  The Bible promises us that we can be saved in an instant, but does not guarantee us another second to decide.  We must be sure, positive, and certain now, just in case there is no later.  We truly may be in sudden-death overtime. 

Jeremiah 6:16 says, "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the Good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls."

Father, thank-you for saving us through Your perfect Son Jesus Christ.  Give each of us the courage to accept Him.  In Jesus name, Amen.        

Monday, March 14, 2011

Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On

Earthquakes on the rise?  Are earthquakes getting more intense?  Depends on who you ask.  I can find just as many websites that state there has been a sharp increase in earthquakes as I can find that say otherwise.  If you check-out some Christian sites, the frequency and intensity of earthquakes are definitely on the rise, just as Jesus predicted there would be.  But if you check out some science sites, there is really no significant increase in activity over the past million decades, give or take.  Does it really matter, anyway?

I say no.  I totally believe the Bible, and I feel strongly enough about its reliability that I don't need any "proof" to justify my belief.  Being a Christian is completely and solely about just that... having a belief or faith in Jesus Christ.  I have found that it is so much easier to just simply believe some things than it is to try to prove them.  In mathematics, that is called a postulate; we accept some things to be true without proof.  I can no more prove God's existence than an atheist can disprove it.  So why fret over it?  Instead, let's just remain steady in our faith, and do the best we can to share that faith with others. 

Lord, please be with those who have been affected by the latest earthquake.  Help us to remember that You are in complete control, no matter how tragic situations may get in the future.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Forgive Me Father, For I Have Sinned

I love the story of the Prodigal Son in the Book of Luke.  As with all of Jesus' parables, many lessons can be drawn.  We all know the story, and I am sure we all see the parallel between the earthly father in the story and our real Father in Heaven.  But I don't think this story ever gets old, and most of us find ourselves in the same shoes of the foolish, young son over and over again.  In fact, if we think we don't, we are only deceiving ourselves.  The Bible teaches us that we all sin, all the time. Oh, how many times have we fallen away, just to come back begging for God's mercy?

I love what the father does in the story.  He stops his son's prepared speech in mid-sentence.  His father was so thrilled that his son had come back that he couldn't even wait for him to finish talking before he ordered a celebration.  It gives me tons of comfort to know God is the same way.  We just can not out-sin the forgiving blood of Jesus Christ...Amen!  So, no matter what we have done and no matter how many times we have done it, God still rushes to embrace us and forgive.  Is there really any Power greater than that?

 Luke 15:22 says, "But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate."

Father, How incredibly Great You are!  Forgive me of all my trespasses and teach me to also forgive others.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I Don't Belong To This World

Do you remember the singer Phil Collins?  I just read on the news that he has decided to "retire".  According to the article, though, it may not be permanent.  He said he just needs to take a little time off to be a full-time Dad.  He has sold millions of records over the years, so his success as a recording artist speaks for itself.  Now he wants to feel successful as a Dad.  Good for him!  But something he said in the article really caught my attention. He has another reason for retiring.  He said after watching this years' MTV awards, he realizes he doesn't belong to this new musical world.  Being a D.J. for 20-plus years, I agree 100%.  But you don't have to be a D.J. to see how much music has deteriorated.

Jesus taught that we should not feel like we belong to this world.  Instead, we should prepare ourselves for heaven.  That is so hard to do when this world is all that we know.  But as you get older, do you feel more alienated from this world?  When I was a kid, it seemed like everyone was a Christian and went to church.  But today, the media portrays Christians as some radical, not-with-it group.  I am not implying that if you watch MTV or listen to today's music, then you are not a Christian.  In fact, I am probably just venting here.  But there is a lesson to be learned from Collin's interview.  The saying goes "stand for something or you will fall for anything".  Pray that God will help us continue to stand for Him and to not cave-in to the pressures of this world.   

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Put God First?

Just the other day, I saw the broadcast of a local church service.  This devotion is not meant in any way to be critical of that church, their pastor, or their members.  The title of the service was "Put God First."  The pastor was a dynamic speaker, more of a motivational kind of speaker than a traditional pastor.  At the end of the service, I was left a little confused.  The next day, the same broadcast came on again, so this time I watched it with "different eyes".  Again, the name of the service was "Put God First".  I counted how many times the pastor used that title or some kind of reference to it.  He either actually said it or allluded to it only 4 times.  But in that same 30-minute broadcast, he "reminded" the congregation that the church sold vitamins for their convenience 7 times.

What does it mean to put God first?  Jesus told the people to seek Heaven first, and then all the others things they desired would be added unto them.  But, as I have to remind myself many times, these two events of putting God first and all other things being added are mutually exclusive events, that is, they are two totally separate things.  We should not be putting God first in order to get the other things we desire.  We should be putting God first because we love Him...period.  We should allow Him, in His infinite wisdom, to add to our lives only the things He deems necessary.  Are we truly putting God first?  God's words through that church broadcast reminded me that many times, I am not.

Deuteronomy 4:29 says, "If you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you look for Him with all your heart and with all your soul."

Jesus, please help me to truly put You first in my life and to put everything else third or fourth.  In Jesus name, Amen.  

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Where Am I?

I guess just about everybody has a G.P.S these days.  I would be lost without mine.  If you don't have one, you don't know what you are missing.  It is hard to believe that little box can guide you just about anywhere.  Simply type in the address and presto!  One night, I was about out of fuel.  I was traveling on an unfamiliar road and had no idea where I could find a gas station.  But thanks to my G.P.S., it guided me to the closest one.  That saved me.  Bailey starts driving in a year.  I will guarantee she will have one in her car!

God is like a G.P.S.  No matter how lost we get or how far off the beaten path we may go, He can instantly guide us back on track.  We may feel that we are just too lost for Him to find us.  Maybe we feel that we have strayed so far away that He doesn't even want to find us.  No way.  There is no place we can go that he won't come after us.  And don't ever think He doesn't want to.  God specializes in saving us.  If you are a long way from "Home", punch in your address into God's G.P.S.  Trust me, He is there even before you get the address typed in.  Our Lord is amazing.  G.P.S. should stand for God Personally Saves.  Amen!

Chronicles 15:2 says, "The Lord is with you.  If you seek Him, you will find Him."

Father, thank-you for saving me from the beaten path.  Your perfect love is demonstrated each time you come to our rescue.  In Jesus name, Amen,

Saturday, February 5, 2011

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 quarter.  The odds of him picking that exact painted quarter would be the same as any one man fulfilling just seven of those 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 the gift of your Son.  Thank you for Jesus.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

We Will Miss You, Candi

Our friend, Candi Taylor is gone.  We are sad, confused, angry, hurt, and all the other feelings rolled into one.  I guess the only people who completely understand what goes through a person's mind the split-second that they pull the trigger of their own gun are already gone.  The rest of us are left to speculate and simply ask "why".  I can still remember the numb feeling I received when I was told yesterday morning at school.  She taught at my high school for years, but a couple years ago, she moved down to the middle school.  She leaves an 8th-grade class with students who are also trying to make sense of what has happened.  She also leaves a young son...

God is the only judge.  I remember telling one of our co-workers at the copy machine yesterday.  Obviously it was a shock to her, too.  But she made a comment that really bugged me.  She said, "I wonder what drives a person to commit the unforgivable sin of suicide?  "What could possibly drive them to the point to take their own life and lose their salvation?"  My first thought was in anger, and I wanted to lash out.  I wanted so much to ask her what Bible she reads.  My Bible, the Holy Bible, does NOT state that about suicide.  But, I held my tongue, because again, God is the only judge.  I wanted to give you a link to read about this subject from someone much more qualified than I.  It is supported by several Bible verses.  Please read it if you get a chance.  http://www.gotquestions.org/suicide-Bible-Christian.html

Good-bye Candi.  We will see you again real soon at God's table.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Order of Operations

Ok, here's a simple arithmetic problem for you:  What is  4 + 3 X 5 ?  Did you get 35 or did you get 19?  It all depends on how you look at it.  Did you add 4 and 3 and then multiply that by 5 or did you multiply 3 by 5 first and then add 4?  The correct way is the latter.  The correct answer is 19.  In mathematics, there is a certain order in which we calculate (called the Order of Operations...Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally).  If there wasn't a set, correct order, we could all interpret the problem differently, and thus, get different answers. 

The same is true about the Bible.  Depending on how we read and interpret passages, the true meaning could be all over the map.  I know some passages are very hard to discern, but it is what it is.  We can't add to or take away from any part of it.  We can't twist and turn the meaning around just so it will fit snug into our own personal lives.  Rather, God set the "Order of Operations" and we must take it exactly as He intended it to be.  If we could read it any 'ole way, we would all come up with different answers.  But there is only One answer...God's answer.  I have always loved this saying at Christmas:  X-mas.  Solve for X.  Christ is the only solution....

Psalm 119:160 says, "All Your words are true; all Your righteous laws are eternal."

Oh Father, I ask you to please open my eyes to your Truths each day.  Help me to always follow Your correct order of operations.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Are You Serious?

Students have really changed over the years that I have been teaching and from the years I went to school.  On the first night of my college classes, I generally do those first-night things:  Introduce myself, welcome them to my class, go over the expectations of the class, and then start on page one in the book.  It used to be that everyone had their books the first night and were ready to start digging-in.  But these days, I get this question, "Are you serious?  You are going to actually teach us the first night?"  It starts steam-rolling down-hill from there.  "Do we really have to do homework?  Do you take roll?  Does it matter how many nights we miss?  When do you do make-up tests?  Again, this is my college class, not high school.  After I burst a few bubbles and tell them, "YES you have to be here, Yes you have to do homework, YES you have to study in order to pass", it is amazing how many don't even show-up again.  In 24 hours, I can usually weed through those who are serious about their education and those who are not.

Jesus had it going on!  He had his disciples all around Him and they were so eager to learn from this awesome God/man.  They were all so ready with bright-eyes and bushy tails.  But then Jesus lowered the boom, so-to-speak.  In a nut-shell, He told them that they could not follow Him half-heartily.  There were no kind-a or sort-a; It was all or nothing.  He certainly burst a few bubbles that day.  The Bible verse says, "When they heard Him say this, they turned away from Him and followed no more."  Ironically, the quote is John 6:66.  Are we asking God if we have to do our homework, come to class, and study his Word real hard?  Are we kinda sorta following Him?  Are we serious about our God education?

Father, please help us follow you closer than we have been.  Forgive us, for we are only humans.  But also please help us not to over-use that excuse, either.  You are the King of Kings!  I am very honored to be in Your "Class".

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Hero, Paul

Have you ever felt like God would not pick you to do anything important because you have been too "bad"?  I have...many times.  When it comes to "bad", it didn't get much worse than Paul.  He worked 24/7 trying to persecute Christians.  He was even there when the first Christian Martyr was stoned to death: Stephen.  Paul was, simply put, a thug!

We all know the story.  God spoke to Paul while he was on the road to Damascus ( which by the way, Paul was on his way to persecute even more Christians).  The Bible documents that after Paul realized it was God talking to him, he instantly did a complete 180.  Now, instead of being against God, he was for God.  And the amazing part is that he never even asked Jesus for help.  God chose Paul!Paul studied long and hard to be able to go out and teach others about Christ.  Isn't our Lord amazing?  If God can turn a complete thug around for the better, He certainly can turn you or me around.  There is no sin that any of us could have committed that is bigger than the Power of God's love and forgiveness.  Ask Him to "turn you around" today.

Psalm 94:11 says, "The Lord knows the thoughts of man; he knows that they are futile."

Father, turn me to you and please use me to further your Kingdom, according to your perfect will.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Trot Line

I passed out several fliers trying to sell commercials for my radio show.  I also passed out several fliers advertising the fact that I am available for math tutoring again.  It is almost like setting out a long trot line and waiting to see how many hits you get.  So far, I have had none, zilch, nada.  It is so disheartening.  Oh, I'm not giving up, and I know it takes time.  But still...

We are all like hooks on a single trot line for God.  He sets us all out hoping we can snag a few for His Kingdom.  It is not our job to save them, it is only our job to be available to lead them to Him.  We are like the hook on the trot line.  If the fish is not hungry, we can't do anything about that.  But as soon as God moves them to be hungry, He expects us to be ready to snag them when they strike.  Are you on God's trot line?  Ask Him today to sharpen your "hook", and make you more attractive to the "fish".

Matthew 5:16 says, "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and Praise your Father in heaven."

Father, help me to lead more people to You, if it be Your will.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Uncle Harold

This devotion is dedicated to my Uncle Harold.  He has become ill, and as a result, has been put in a nursing home.  He shows severe signs of some type of dementia, but doctors can not find anything wrong with him.  There is most definitely something wrong.  He sees things that are not there.  He talks almost completely out of his head, and now, he doesn't even know my aunt, who has been married to for ever. It breaks her heart to have to place him in this nursing home, but she is unable to take care of him while he is in this state.  Uncle Harold is retired Army and has never been sick other than an occasional cold.  That's why this hurts so much.  This is one of the strongest men I have ever known, physically, emotionally, and intellectually.  You may not know my Uncle Harold, but you probably know someone in this same shape.  God only knows what is going through his mind!

You know what?  That's one thing that gives me strength at this moment:  God does know what is going on in his mind.  Uncle Harold may not be able to communicate with us the way he used to, but I feel positive he is still communicating with God the same way he always has.  He is a Christian and loves the Lord very much.  God is holding him right this very minute.  Please pray for him, and also, please pray for my Aunt Glenda, as she is a bucket of emotions right now.  I also feel positive God is holding her, too.  Our God holds all of us when we need Him.  Praise be to the Lord!

Psalm 119:165 says, "Great peace have they who love Your law, and nothing can make them stumble."

Father, I pray for Uncle Harold right now and ask you to give him a speedy recovery.  Also, please be with my aunt as she also struggles through these hard times.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bad Habits

The other day, I noticed that one of the spindles on the railing around my front porch was broken.  Upon closer inspection, I noticed that a small bush had grown into a fork.  And wouldn't you know it, the spindle on the railing just happen to be in the middle of the fork in the bush.  As the bush continued to grow, the fork pushed the spindle so hard that it broke it from the bottom.  If only I had noticed it sooner, I could have trimmed the bush back and saved myself $12.99 and 20 minutes of my time. 

That's the way it is with our bad habits.  We all have them, but if we try to keep them cut-back to a minimum, we just might be able to keep them from destroying things around us.  I admit that my spindle was only a little thing, but you and I have both heard of some people's bad habits destroying much, much more.  It is so much easier to pull-up a small twig from the ground before it grows into a medium-sized bush.  And if we let that bad habit continue to grow to tree-size, well, we may never be able to remove it.

Psalm 68:19 says, "Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens."

Father, help us to keep our bad habits in check.  We admit we are not perfect, but agree that You are and that You are willing to help us with our burdens everyday.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pop-Up Blocker

I used to get so aggravated when surfing the net because of those annoying pop-ups.  I know it only takes a second to close them, but some are so sophisticated that once you close one, two or three more pop-up in its place.  Thank Goodness for pop-up blockers!  Most are free and easily down-loadable from the Internet.  I love the sound mine makes when it blocks a pop-up.  It sounds like a bug hitting one of those outdoor zappers.

When Jesus Ascended into heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit in His place.  The Holy Spirit does many things for us.  One thing in particular that I like is that He is like one of those pop-up blockers.  Everyday, we are faced with scores of temptations, some small and some large.  But if we stay in-tune to the Holy Spirit, he can zap those "pop-ups" away in an instant.  Have you down-loaded God's pop-up blocker?  It's free, and 100% effective.  And once you install it in your heart, you can surf through your day with a lot less aggravation.

Ezekiel 36:27 says, "And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgements and do them."

Father, thank-you for the Holy Spirit.  Help us to always listen for His voice.  In Jesus name, Amen 

Monday, January 3, 2011


I was watching an episode of Criminal Minds just a second ago, and one of the actors said a line that made me jump out of bed and write this devotion.  Rossi said, "emotional scars show where we have been, but they don't have to dictate where we are going".  We all carry scars, emotionally and physically, that are tough to deal with.  Everyone of us have scars from the past, and in that sense, we are all the same.  But the difference between us is what we do with those scars.  Do we continue to let them haunt and hurt us, or do we force them away and go on with our lives?

Jesus suffered many scars while he spent some 30-plus years here on earth.  But he certainly moved on and didn't allow them to derail His path.  And with  His help, we can do the same thing.  Here's an idea:  Gather up all your scars and give them to the Lord.  He promises He will help to share your load.  We may never lose those scars completely; Even Jesus still carried the scars in his hands and his side, even after his dead body was resurrected.  If He can do it, we certainly can to, with His help.  

Psalm 30:2 says, "O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me."

Father, please help our scars to heal.  Remind us that it is not where we have been that matters as much as where we are going.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


I guess I am like most everybody else these days: I enjoy "playing" on Facebook. I know I am also guilty of this, but it is very comical what some people write on their status. One I read recently said, "I just woke up, now I am gonna watch some TV..later". Another one simply said, "Taking the dog for a walk." Do we really believe that there are people out there that truly care that much about us and what we do?

I bet if Jesus had a Facebook account, He would love to see every single one of our posts. I saw a movie one time about Jesus coming to earth as a man and visiting a teenager. She didn't believe He was really Jesus until later in the movie. When she realized He was truly Christ, of course she was full of thousands of questions. After answering most of them for her, Jesus then started asking her some questions. She started answering His questions, and then it hit her, and she stopped in mid-sentence. She said, "Lord, why are you asking me anything? You are Jesus and know everything I am going to say even before I say it." I will never forget His response. He smiled very warmly and replied, "Yes I do know what you will say, but I sure am enjoying having a conversation with you." We can "Facebook" Jesus anytime just by praying. I bet it would thrill Him for us to just talk to Him...even if it is in short "status updates".

Jeremiah 33:3 says, "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."

Father, here is my status update for You: "Just woke up. Gonna go through my day speaking with You often". In Jesus name, Amen.