Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Beginnings

"'I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters,
making a dry path through the sea.

But forget all that—
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.'" Isaiah 43:16, 18-19 NLT

As the new year is approaching, are you thinking of all the "new" yous that you are promising yourself? "This year I'm going to..." "This year I'm committed to change...about myself." "This year, I am NOT going to..."

New Year's resolutions are nice I guess, but are they realistic? Are you wanting to change the right things? Are they being done for the right reason? Is it what the Lord is telling you to do?

To me, the above verse is perfect for the New Year. During this soon-to-be past year you have hopefully allowed the Lord to do great works in you. But it nothing compared to what He is planning for you and your life this new year. He's already begun. Can you believe it? There will be new paths and new rivers created in you and your spirit. Wonderful changes that will change you forever.

Do you find that the resolutions that you make for yourself are hard to keep? Do you feel like a failure when you fall short on your promise to yourself? That is what a resolution basically is--a promise.

When you allow the Lord to guide and choose your changes--you have the added assurance and strength in the Lord to help you succeed. Not all path changes and river planting will be joyful and easy. Some may be disheartening and hard. But with the word of the Lord and His presence in your life, you will become the diamond in the rough--a treasure to your God that is more precious than gold.

Do you want to start the year with 'new beginnings'? Do you want to succeed this time? Invite the Lord. He will see you through.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Take Heart!

"'I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.'” John 16:33 NLT

Isn't this a great promise?! As we walk down this road we call life, it's a given that we will not always have days full of sunshine and rainbows--but we don't walk alone.

When we get overwhelmed, we know that we should just empty ourselves of those feelings and claim the awesome peace that we can have only through Him. But it's not always easy to do. We get wrapped up in the emotions, of actions, the fears--but He can unwrap us. We get bogged down in the moment--He can unbog us.

Anything that the world can throw at us--He can overcome. He is such a loving and gentle Father, yet, if something or someone was to attack us, He's there in a heartbeat, protecting us to the fullest.

So please, the next time that you are attacked, remember this verse. Remember to take heart--you are not alone. Among the trials and sorrows, you will see days of sunshine and rainbows. So claim it!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Come and Rest

"Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28 NLT

Yesterday, when I was at church, my friend pulled me aside and said she just needed to unload. She is one of those women that you look at and admire so much for her strength and insight. She has gone through many trials--cancer, bad doctors, surgeries to fix what the doctors messed up on, many treatments of chemo--always with a gracious spirit and a sweet smile.

Yesterday was different. Yes, her resistance was down because she had been in pain and she was having to start this week with another form of chemo treatment that would be putting blisters on the soles of her feet, the palms of her hands and her tongue. But that wasn't it. Yes, her 95 year old mother was nearing the end of her life--nearly blind & deaf, dementia and now her digestive system was closing down--living next door--not really ready to make the decisions that would soon have to be made. But that wasn't it.

Yesterday, she was weary. She was heavily burdened with the cares of life and the responsibilities of. Have you been there? Are you there now?

Are you-- as they say--ready to pull down the shades and turn out the lights? You are emotionally, physically, spiritually burdened and weary? It's OK to hold up your hand and say,"Yes!" Go ahead. If that is where you are at, go ahead and shout a big, "YES! Yes I am!"

So many of us feel that we can't be true to our feelings. That if we admit that we are spiritually weary or feel burdened beyond our capacity, that we are admitting failure in our spiritual walk or a weakness in our journey with our God. But it doesn't mean any of those things.

God knows you so well. He knows you better than you even know yourself. He allows us to go through these times of weariness and heavy burdens to fine tune us. To make us better than we already are through Him. To prepare us for the path in life that He has made for us. To help us to realize that we need Him so much more than life itself.

As I read this passage today, I thought of my friend. I thought that this verse was written especially for her in this very moment she is in. Was it written for you too? Claim it! Go to your Father and lay all of the weariness, cares, burdens and tears down and crawl upon His lap. Curl up like a baby and feel Him wrap His strong and gentle arms around you--rocking you and singing sweet songs in your ear that are for you only.

Your Heavenly Father is just waiting for you to make the first move--will you? Can you? I know you can.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gift of Freedom

"When you find me, you find life, real life,
to say nothing of God's good pleasure." Proverbs 8:35 The Message

Do you notice that now-a-days, so many people are searching for the meaning of life? Why am I here? What should I be doing? What should I believe in?

We tend to make a simple thing so complicated. But God makes a complicated thing so simple. We have to question everything and everything needs to make sense and have a logical reason. But with God, all we have to do is believe and accept.

Believe and accept!? No way, there has to be more than that! I have to earn my way to get what I want out of life. I need to sacrifice. I need to plan and be in control. Then life will be what I want it to be. But is it?

With God, all we have to do to have a life--a true life--is believe. To have a life that is full and spontaneous and joyful, all we have to do is accept. Accept the unconditional love and graciousness that God has planned for your life since before you were born and thank Him for it.

This CHRISTmas, give yourself the gift of freedom. Freedom from all the pressures of trying find life, true life, through your own acts, control and emotions--and let God give you life, true life. A life that passes all understanding. A life that is so complete that you can't take credit for it--you just know it is a gift from your Heavenly Father.

Do you want life, true life? Don't look towards earth for the answers--look upwards towards the heavens and pray. Pray for the gift of true life that only the Father can give to an open, willing heart. He will give it to you. All you need to do is humbly ask. Go ahead--ask!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Value of a Crown

"I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown." Revelation 3:11 NLT

What is it that so precious to you that you hold on to it for dear life? Is it your mate, your family, your children, your pet? Is it your wallet, your 501K, your prestigious job? Is it your faith, your Bible, your Sunday mornings at church?

We humans put value on everything. Whether it is subconscious or intentional--we have a value system. The more valuable something is to us, the more we want to protect it, cherish it, keep it in a safe place, at times even to guard it with our very life.

The above verse can be taken a couple of ways. How my spirit spoke to me, was this--the reference of crown was my faith, my salvation. The help notes at the bottom of the page said that the "I am coming soon," could also say, "I am coming suddenly, or quickly."

So, Jesus has already came once--almost 2009 years ago. And He is coming again. When--we do not know--but when He does, it will be suddenly, quickly. And we need to be ready. I need to be ready. I need to be guarding my faith and salvation as if is was a crown made of solid gold. It's worth that you know. Your faith and salvation can't be measured by man's estimate of value. It's beyond our comprehension.

Sometimes the things of this world look pretty good--even it they're not. It may make someone look at the crown in their hands and think that it would be fun to trade it in for something exciting, different or new. But is it?

Is it worth losing your heavenly crown for some earthly trinket? Keep the crown--the price that Jesus paid for it so that you could have it wasn't cheap. It was His sacrifice that He graciously made for you that purchased that crown you hold in your hands.

Cherish it always. Cherish Him always. This CHRISTmas season, give Him the gift of value.

"And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor." 1 Peter 5:4 NLT

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Gift of Trust

"The person who trusts the Lord,
will be blessed." Jeremiah 17:7 GN

At this very moment, do you feel blessed? Do you know what "blessed" means? In Noah's Webster's dictionary, one of the meanings is: (a.) Imparting happiness or bliss; fraught with happiness; blissful; joyful.

"The person who trusts the Lord will be blessed." The verse doesn't say that the person who trusts the Lord will be on easy street. It doesn't say that the person who trusts the Lord will be living by smooth sailing. It doesn't say that the person who trusts the Lord will never know hunger, financial crunch or sadness.

What it does say is that the person who trusts the Lord will be BLESSED--that if YOU trust the Lord, YOU will be BLESSED--And what does "blessed" mean again? Blissful, joyful, fraught with happiness. During good times or bad.

As with all relationships, trust shouldn't be a reflection of only good times. A true trust relationship is built and strengthened by good and troubled times.

Because of our human experiences and relationships--it can be hard for us to trust--to even trust our own heavenly Father. But we can. Of all the relationships we will ever invest in and encounter, our trust in our Father will never go into default. He canNOT be untrue, untrustworthy to you--He just loves you too much!

Can you trust Him? The bigger question is can He trust you? When you trust Him with ALL of you, with ALL your life, with ALL your good & bad--your spirit is so BLESSED. You are fill with a joy--a sparkling joy--that just glows through all of you.

This CHRISTmas season, give yourself the gift of trust--wholehearted trust, that no walls can keep out--with your heavenly Father. He desires this kind of relationship with you--can you give it to Him?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


"Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom."
Psalm 90:12 NIV

I have had to rethink what and how I'm doing life. I found that I was waking up exhausted. While I like what I am doing, I have come to the conclusion that there is an element of truth to the old saying, "Too much of a good thing can be bad for you."

The Bible says to do all things in moderation. This is good advise, but not always easy to follow. I love being a pastor. I love working on my friend's cattle ranch. I've even enjoy the projects around my house. I'm having to learn to pull back and slow down. I can't do it all, even if I want to. It's not all up to me. It's not all about me. I put standards and deadlines upon myself that lead to failure and disappointment. I get exhausted.

One night my son said to me, "Dad, I feel sorry for you." "Why?", I replied. He said, "Your job makes you so tired." That got me thinking.

I got away last week with a fellow pastor for a short time of prayer and ministry planning. My family said that maybe I could use the time away for some rest. I thought, "No way, I have work to do." God spoke to me during that time away. He didn't call me, or any of us to burn out. We do it to ourselves. We allow the demands of life, the approval of others, and self-gratification, to keep us busy to the point of exhaustion.

God rested from the work of creation. He calls us to enter His rest. We have His approval through Jesus. He gives rest to the weary. Are you weary?

It is easy to get on overload, especially with "good things." Christmas time is when many of us tend to get maxed out. I am having to rethink. I have to prioritize and reshuffle my schedule. I have to say "no" to some requests and opportunities. It's hard to do that. But it is necessary. We are in a marathon, not a sprint.

Take this time to focus on the gift of Jesus. Take time to receive and find, the joy in His rest.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pass It On!

"And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is." Ephesians 3:18NLT

There's an old camp song that goes something like this, "deep and wide, deep and wide, God's love for you is deep and wide...." OK, I'm not going to make a living singing old camp songs, but it was a fun way to remind children how much their Father loved them.

It's a great time to remind you too. During stressful times, busy times or times that maybe you are not living the life that you know that God wants for you--you may feel that He has forgotten you or turned His back on you. He hasn't. He can't. It's only you that can turn your back on Him. He is forever faithful in His love, grace and friendship towards you.

There's another song that I've been hearing lately on a Country station. It's a song about a dad that leaves a message on the message machine saying "That no matter what you have done, or where you may be, you can always come home, my daughter, to me. Just come back home."

When I first heard it, it made me spiritually weep. I can see God leaving that message for so many of us daughters (& sons). I know that there has been times in my past when--if I had called Him--that same message would be on His machine for me. How many times I must have hurt Him and He continues to love, & desires to have a relationship with me. And He continues to feel the same way about you. Our Father loves us so much that it doesn't matter what we've done or where we've been, as long as we ask for forgiveness, He will graciously take us back.

Could we? Could you? If someone turned their back on you--if someone injured your feelings--rejected you--would you be able to just take them back? Even if they did ask for forgiveness? It's a hard question to answer. At least truthfully. Spiritually you want to say 'yes' but realistically and honestly, the answer could be 'no'.

During this CHRISTmas season, do you think it would be a great time to give the gift of true forgiveness and complete love? A gift with no strings attached? A gift that isn't wrapped in guilt or tied with ribbons of half-hearted forgiveness or love? Is there someone in your life that needs such a gift from you? Is there someone in your life that--in order for you to be in your Father's will--that you should give that gift to?

God's gift to you is to graciously love & forgive you completely. It's a gift that He wants you to pass on. So...what's keeping you? Pass it on!

Friday, December 4, 2009


"But Jesus replied, 'Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.'” Matthew 8:20 NLT

This verse has always fascinated me for some reason. I think that some of it is that the mental picture of what Jesus' words conjure up. To a lot of us--having a structure to call home, a place to make our very own, a place that we feel safe to 'lay our heads'--is very important. To some, it is their security. Foxes have it, birds have it, but Jesus didn't.

And until I read this verse, I forget to even wonder about Jesus' home. If you read the verse before, verse 19, the reason that Jesus even made this statement is because a teacher of the law, who apparently had hung out with the crowd that Jesus was with that day, came to Him and stated, in the passion of the moment, that he would follow Him wherever He went.

But, while I think Jesus was flattered at the teacher's words, He knew that we humans need our personal place--a home--a safe place to lay our head. And you hear no more of this teacher. Can you imagine him, in his passion of being with the Son of Man all day, witnessing the wonderful healing that Jesus did that day, wanting to follow but because he needed his 'home', turning away and head down, slowly walking into the sunset?

Why didn't God give His Son a place to lay His head--a home? You probably already know the answer. Having a home is not a sin, it is not a bad thing. In fact it is wonderful--it's one of God's blessings to us. On the other hand, having a home is also a responsibility. If you have a home, a place to lay your head, you need to keep it up. Having a home takes up your time. Your focus.

Jesus' time on this earth was to keep His eyes pointed towards home and to do His Father's will. And God's will was for Him to be totally focused on saving us from ourselves. If He had a home, He would be torn between the upkeep and maintence and going to Galilee--of needing the wash the windows or raising Barnabas from the dead. He didn't need it, but He understood our need. Besides His home really wasn't here on earth anyways was it? He came down to earth as a honored guest for around 30 years. His 'safe place to lay His head' was Heaven.

I don't know about you, but I like to think that today, He does have a safe place to lay His head here on earth--our hearts. If you have invited Him to live in your heart, in your spirit--then He does have a safe place, doesn't He?

If you haven't done that yet--won't you during this Christmas season? What a wonderful present to Him and yourself! Everlasting life--to be with Jesus forever and ever. The thought of it may be scary--you may have a thousand excuses why not--but Jesus doesn't care about excuses. He wants you, wherever you are at. With all of your muck and goo and ickiness--He wants you. But you have to ask Him. He will not come uninvited. It's simple really. There's no magic words. Just from the depths of your heart and spirit, talk to Him. Simply confess you are a sinner and that you need and want Him in your life. God will do the rest.

An important step--tell someone that you trust. Share the wonderful news with someone you trust and that will hold you accountable. Someone that has a strong faith so that when you go through trails, they can council you, support you and keep you on the right path.

Foxes have dens, birds have nests, we have the Promise of Jesus--Heaven!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Gift of Less

"Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything." 2 Corinthians 6:10 NLT

As the month of December starts, so does the "I want" and the "You deserve". The day after Thanksgiving, we are bombarded with commercials and ads that state that "you need this", "you're worth it." Children start making comments such as, "I want", or "I need".

It's all so disheartening isn't it? We--a society that has SO much more than any society since the beginning of time--think we still need MORE!

Does MORE fill your broken heart? Does MORE fix your empty spirit? Does MORE make you have a better marriage, raise your children to be better people, build deeper friendships? Does MORE take away your loneliness? Does MORE bind you and your God together? No!

What MORE does is exactly the opposite. LESS can do MORE. Does that make sense?

The verse above states that with heartache, they have MORE joy. With LESS money, they have MORE spiritually. With LESS material possessions, they have MORE of everything. Do you understand why?

The reason why is because all these 'things' are just that--'things'. If God came down today and took all the 'things' of this world, and just left Himself here, what would you do? Would you throw a tantrum? Would you fall apart? Would you be at a lost? Would you feel cheated?

Or would He be enough? Would you embrace Him? Would you hang-out and talk with Him? Would you just sit and soak up the wonder of Him? Would you release yourself into His capable hands and allow Him to control your day? Would you feel blessed?

God has blessed us with so much. But all we really need is Him. All you really need is Him. As you enter into this Christmas season, please try to remember what this extra special time is all about. Oh, you will be getting a gift alright--God's greatest gift--His Son, your Savior. The most unique gift that one could ever hope to get.

Remember, no matter what the world says--it is called CHRISTmas for a reason.