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.

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.