Category Archives: Devotions/Blogs

July 2019

MEANINGLESS

Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.

 And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.

The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.

The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.

And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (NKJV)

The bible’s use of meaningless is very powerful. It is very freeing because it helps with the stresses of life. For example, when stressed, this reminder can bring peace.

Medical conditions can cause stress. Financial situations can cause stress. Relationships can cause stress. Emotional upheaval can cause stress. And the list goes on and on. But if we confess all this and give it to God, He sends us relief. Confession relieves and brings release. (Yippee, hooray!!)

Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why [a]are you anxious for the rest? (NKJV)

“Behold, God is exalted by His power;
Who teaches like Him?
 Who has assigned Him His way,
Or who has said, ‘You have done wrong’?

 “Remember to magnify His work,
Of which men have sung.
 Everyone has seen it;
Man looks on it from afar.

 “Behold, God is great, and we do not know Him;
Nor can the number of His years be discovered. (NKJV)

June 2019 Devotion

A QUEST FOR WISDOM

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” (James 1:5-8 NIV)

James’ recipe for wisdom is a three-part process. First, we must ask God for His generous gift. Next, our request must be made with faith. Finally, we must not doubt that the Lord will provide. Who among us does not want to be smarter?

A wind-blown sea wave is a powerful image. With one swoop a whole neighborhood can be destroyed. Hurricanes are powerful; however, a New England Nor’easter is also a destructive dynamo. A Pacific Ocean tidal wave can occur with no warning whatsoever. Who can forget the mudslides wiping out million-dollar estates perched precariously along the California coast?

“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine (Jesus) and puts them into practice is like a wiseman who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did fall, because it had its foundation the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose ad the winds blew and beat against that house, ad it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:23-27 NIV)

The key to avoid being “double-minded” is putting wisdom of Christ into practice. In this manner, we are operating in faith. To be completely candid, the “doubt” part is a struggle at times.

Most people learn to trust God one area at a time. For example, a New Jersey freeway is terrifying for many rural drivers. It can take a while to learn how to trust the Lord’s promises to never abandon us. This is especially true when our kids are driving! In time, many learn to surrender these fears to the Lord. Once free, our houses are built upon “the Rock” and wisdom prevails.

Dear Jesus, please help us with wisdom. We want to build our houses upon the rock rather than shifting sand. Remind us that only through divine wisdom can we taste victory. Cure our hearts from being “double-minded.” We thank you for being or priest and intercessor. We love You! AMEN?

May 2019 Devotion

THINKING DIFFERENTLY

Engineers and mechanics think differently. Essentially, both methods of understanding are correct, important, and useful. When the problem is a leaky water pump, the mechanic’s skilled hands are better than expensive theory. Conversely, when the water pumps keep leaking, engineering is superior.

Our faith in God works in a similar manner. We build our understanding of God based on our experiences, education, and faith. Grandma’s faith is neither superior or inferior to the smartest theologians. Having differing levels of understanding is very beneficial to the Body of Christ.

What I love about God is His ability to interact with people on the exact level of their understanding. He loves the simple prayers of the children just as much as the deep questioning of the intellectual. He seems equally comfortable teaching the spiritual first graders and theologians such as Calvin. Luther, Augustine, and Tertullian. This is an incredible display of God’s brilliance.

To God belong wisdom and power, counsel, and understanding are his, (Job 12:13)

We need to let God teach us. The textbook for this journey is the Bible. Through its pages, we grasp deeper understandings of theology. God’s Word works on every level. The simple stories of the patriarchs are just as significant as complex theology found in Romans and Leviticus. Therefore, we all need to be diligent in our studies.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

April 2019 Devotion

FRUSTRATED WITH THE ALMIGHTY

There have been dark moments in my life that challenge my relationship with God. It’s not a matter of questioning His existence or role in my life. Those issues were settled decades ago. Instead, these issues occur during times when his inaction frustrates me. An injustice Hi seems to be ignoring or a difficulty that is not corrected are items that feed my discontent.

Please, understand that I love God. He is my everything. He rescued my life from the pit of spiritual destruction. His sacrifice on the cross is wonderfully precious. I belong to Him.

It is difficult to understand why our trust I god is woefully shallow at times. How fortunate we are that God’s personality is deeper than ours. He understands our frustrations and comforts discontent. Further, he is unmoved by our inappropriate emotional weaknesses.

But I trust in you, O LORD: I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me. Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love. (Psalm 31:14-16)

I have discovered that it is best to keep working through our emotional difficulties. In god’s time, He always addresses our problems. His solutions have been both surprising and wonderful. Therefore, we can choose to trust Him even on the days when we are frustrated.

March 2019 Devotion

CASUAL DOESN’T WORK

I have a few acquaintances who are nice people; however, our relationships have not developed into a trusting friendship. Moving from casual into something more takes time. Ironically, we can struggle in this area with God. He wants to be our best friend. Often, we want to keep our distance from Him

A casual, or acquaintance type, relationship with God does not work. He wants to be much more than this in our lives. Yet, when I spend time with God, His desire for my discipleship is overwhelming. To be perfectly transparent, there are times when I would rather watch television than overcome a spiritual hindrance. The Holy Spirit within me is more than willing to cooperate with God; however, my sinful nature resists.

The Lord says, “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up onluy of rules taught by men.” (Isaiah29:13)

Does anyone want to have this horrible heart condition that was revealed to Isaiah? A casual relationship with God is not possible. Our Lord desires to be part of our everyday life. He is much more than another chore.

Time with God is always beneficial. I am always refueled, replenished, and refreshed when our relationship is healthy. There is o excuse for my spiritual slothfulness. Forgive me Lord. Let’s move forward instead!

January 2019 Devotion

WIDE AWAKE It is always hard for me to rest the night before I have to do something I do not want to do. My mind races with questions, fears, anxious thoughts, and concerns. When I do sleep, my dreams are uneasy. Further, it difficult for me to pray when I am distraught. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat – for he grants sleep to those he loves. (Psalm 127:2) Since I cannot sleep, does this mean that I have exhausted the love of God? No, God still loves me dearly. I am just having a very bad night. The momentary insomnia provides the evidence that I am struggling with my faith. This is not necessarily a hopeless situation. Increasing our faith is somewhat like bodybuilding. We must walk through difficult scenarios to become spiritually stronger. Each person seems to have his or her are of weakness. Just as the muscles will fail on occasion, we, too, will have our moments of spiritual malfunction. Fortunately, these things are quickly corrected with prayer, trust, empowerment from the Holy Spirit, and hope. In short, God comforts and restores us. Our wounds serve as a reminder not to fail on the next occasion. I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. (Psalm 121:1-4)

December 2018 Devotion

PEACE ON THE WATER

Jesus spent much time on the Sea of Galilee with His disciples. Although they traveled through a few storms, it was often a quiet place of peace. This enabled Jesus to sped special times with His team of future leaders. The boat seemed to be just he right size for such expeditions.

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. The, because so many people were coming and going they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

So, they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. (Mark 6:30-32)

Our alone time with the Lord is significant. We, too, need to seek a place of peace when our life becomes too busy for prolonged. Periods. Often, it is a matter of prioritization. It may be necessary to schedule these moments so that they are not missed.

Is it okay to spend money on leisure? In my opinion, if the result is quiet time with the Lord, then it is acceptable. If the activity adds to our busyness, then it is unprofitable. Remember that a serene walk costs very little.

Jesus’ ministry was more than busy. Crowds followed Him throughout the region. The water provided a place of peace, or a vehicle to a solitary place, that was difficult to find elsewhere.

Does your schedule need more quiet time with the Lord? What can be re-prioritized? If Jesus rested His disciples, are we exempt? God instituted the seventh day of rest a s gift for His people. We may not be subject to Old Testament Law; however, the wisdom of the idea is obvious. When are your special moments with the Master?

November 2018 Devotion

DAILY BREAD

We have plenty of squirrels our backyard. These ambitious creatures are forever foraging. Their nests bulge with surplus; yet, they are driven to find more. Their strength is in their ability to acquire.

It is uncommon for God to give s a surplus. More often He provides what we need for each day. This can be difficult for people who have a squirrel mentality. Learning to live one day at a time is problematic. The Lord is faithful while the situation remains uncomfortable.

He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed by your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread.’” (Words of Jesus, Luke 11:2-3)

God wants to be our source of strength and stability. He does not want our acquisitions or surpluses to be our security. This keeps us actively seeking His provisions. The Lord is not attempting to enslave, but rather understands our desperate need for constant fellowship with Him. This interaction is vital to our spiritual health.

If we only speak with God when we are uncomfortable and communication is His greatest desire, is it any wonder we are in constant need? This is an important principle. The more time we spend in fellowship with Him, the more peaceful life becomes. Even when the difficulties do not change. His solace makes life sweet.

The application for this is obvious. We need to prioritize our time with the Almighty. He has all that we need. Further, we don’t have to be alarmed or disturbed by His “daily provisions.” He knows that we require an additional allotment in the morning.

September 2108 Devotion

Get A Job!

Our forefather, Adam, enjoyed the good life. Along with Eve, they lived in a paradise that makes any vacation seem subpar. They were blissfully ignorant of stress, overtime, budget restraints, customers, labor disputes, interviews, meetings, promotions, terminations, competition, share holders, reports, lawsuits, and graveyard shifts. All of that changed after sin entered the world.

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken, for dust you are ad to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:17-19)

Work is a curse. We were designed to be perpetually on vacation. Since this is impossible, we must labor. God promises ultimate rest in the world to come if we love Him. Until then, life will be arduous. Still, the peace of god fills our lives with purpose, strength, rest and joy.

“Come to me,  all of you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Words of Jesus, Matthew 11:28-30)

July/August Devotion

Busy, Busy, Busy

It is said, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” That passage is found in 2 Opinions. In other words, it is not in the Bible. Laziness is clearly addressed in multiple passages; however, the need for rest is also presented. God does not want His people running on empty.

Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you. (Psalm 116:7)

Television may seem like a great distraction; however, it is far from relaxing. In my opinion, most shows cause an adrenaline rush which is the situation we are trying to avoid. It is better to find a less stressful activity. Still, searching for an undisturbed moment or two can be difficult for many.

God’s enemy likes to keep us busy. He knows we will eventually burnout without the proper care. Junk food, sleeplessness, and too much adrenaline all feed into the downward spiral. Eventually, the crash occurs.

In the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and make it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (Genesis 2:2-3)

We can follow God’s example with a time of rest. We can unplug from the internet, turn off the cell phone, and find some quiet time with our Lord. In the New testament, we are given freedom to choose our moments. In my case, I like to keep my pastoral activities on Fridays to a minimum.

One man considers one day more sacred than another, another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. (Romans 14:5-6)