What I Am Most Thankful…..

Description: It was always a custom on Thanksgiving Day to go around the table telling what we were most thankful for that year.

Verse: Thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

I always enjoyed these moments as a kid growing up and when the role reversed and then I heard my children tell their stories. And now as a grandparent see the stories continue. After everyone leaves after a great meal, I just keep rewinding the day over and over smiling at all their comments that they were thankful for that year.

I remembered in the military where there were times I had to be away, but I always wanted to hear their stories. Hearing their words the most precious things to my ears. No matter how old they get, I still see the little girls that I grew up with. I have come to understand why my dad smiled a lot, but said nothing.

I am most thankful this year for being thankful for one word –love. This was my word for the year. I will admit I don’t say it enough to the ones I love the most, and sometimes when I am upset, I would have been better off, of thinking love in that moment.

We have to realize every moment in this life is valued, and never can be relived or reminded enough to change what we wish we would’ve said or should’ve done that day. I guess that is why all the commercials say that things are — priceless!

I remember my brother telling me several years ago when I was going through a bad season, that there was still lots of people who would trade places with me in my dilemma. I guess I never really appreciated the simple things in life with being content and saying, “Thanks God for today!”

I didn’t add to what I was thankful for, because we could all complain if someone really wanted to listen to our problems. I am certain we would all like to have some adjustments to our lives –but what if it really never changed anything?

I find in these moments to talk to someone else who likes listening to anything that I want to talk about, God my daddy really wants to listen no matter what is going on in my life –and yours too! So as this Thanksgiving week starts another festive season for all– Christmas, remind yourself what you’re really thankful for around you. And when you capture that moment, pause and reflect and tell God thanks for making it all possible.

Yes, there is things that I am hoping and praying for everyday, but I don’t want to be in such a rush that I cannot say thanks to the ones I love and miss the most. But at the end of the day, God loves to smile at me and remind me how precious I am to Him. What a blessing!

Prayer: Lord thanks for all the little things, my wonderful wife, our precious children and our beautiful grandchildren. We are so blessed, and I cannot say thanks no matter what the situation is today. Thanks for all the loving and kind people you have placed around us when our loved ones are growing up and living their lives away from home. We are blessed—Thanks again. Amen

Drunk….but in the right way

Description: Holidays bring the spirits out to celebrate with our friends and families, but occasionally we get more spirits in us than we should and we have regrets the day afterwards.

Verse: Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. Ephesians 5:18

As we approach the end of this year with upcoming holidays; there is the possibility that we may consume more spirits at our parties than we should at the end of the day. Holidays are also known to be the toughest times for Americans to get through as well.

Not surprisingly, Americans consume more alcoholic beverages on New Year’s Eve than on any other day of the year. But this may surprise you: Christmas is the second most popular day to drink.  (That’s the word from a survey of 2,000 U.S. adults titled “Alcohol and America,” conducted by Yahoo!)

The most popular alcoholic beverages is red wine. The United States has a massive alcohol problem. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) estimated that there are at least 1O million alcoholics in America and at least 3.3 million teenage alcoholics (That’s 19% of all American teenagers.) And statistic are rising rapidly.)

This topic has been a topic of arguments even in the church with statements, ” the bible says be not drunken with wine.” What some people don’t understand wine was the beverage, because drinking water was not always available. I don’t think we should engage in arguments over this matter, because the person who is wanting to legitimize their drinking will never see what Paul was saying in this verse.

Paul is saying that if you’re looking for joy and and comfort, seek it in the Holy Spirit, not at the bottom of a bottle. The Holy Spirit should be your only resource for joy and exhilaration. Everyone wants to be happy and that’s ok because God wants everyone to be happy, too. He is not a cosmic- killjoy!

No one wants to see anyone plastered. The dangers of this addiction will break the best of relationships and families. I will not say yes or no to when you should or should not drink a glass of wine to celebrate your holidays this year. As someone who enjoyed wine, I don’t keep it in my house because I don’t want to return to my past with drinking that was not in control. And I don’t want to destroy my testimony living for God.

I look for God to bring the high in my day and there is no way to get over consumed in my relationship with Him. My chances to not say something, that I cannot retract, or have to apologize for an action that will hurt the most important people in my life. I have learned I can be happy without drinking something to make me feel good.

This story causes self reflection for the best person:

*Why am I spending money for something that is not really healing me — but destroying me?

*Is the one night of numbness drowning in my problem really going to make me feel better tomorrow?

*Is there a chance that instead of helping me is causing me to not see the real solution to my pain?

Paul, could see even in his day, that alcohol was being used for all the wrong reasons, and today we might know someone or even worse see the problem in our own family, whatever the situation, the answer is simple, is getting drunk the correct way? I think not.

Please help the person that you might now in this way, and it could be as simple make a limit to the celebration with one small glass. And then turn to what others choose– no thank you –do you have water or coffee please? You definitely will be happier the next day.

Prayer: Lord we all want to legitimize drinking, but the reality is you told us to not be drunk with wine, but be drunk on the Holy Spirit — who can also heal us from any problem we face today. Lord please use all of us this holiday to help others with this area. Help us to do it with your love and grace. Amen

The End of the Beginning

Description: Typically when things look bad, we all hope for new beginnings. What we fail to realize often, if we were more aware of our situations; it is possible that a bad situation was just the result of poor choices.

Verse: The first thing I did was place before you what was placed so emphatically before me: that the Messiah died for our sins, exactly as Scripture tells it; that he was buried; that he was raised from death on the third day, again exactly as Scripture says. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Today the world has become upset with the recent election because two things.

1. They are happy because their candidate won.

2. They are unhappy because their candidate lost.

Although there is many things out of our hands I am appreciative I at least get to vote. Many countries do not have this freedom. In the bible it also reminds us to be content with all things, but the reality is we all have some discomforts when things spiral out of control. But when I have a spirit of contentment, I am not saying I am happy with all that is around me, I just choose to have peace versus having thoughts that are not in control.

Jesus on the other hand came to bring this peace into our world and the religious scholars who should have embraced him, fought everything that he attempted to bring into this crazy world. He had many that embraced His teachings, but others were only concerned with their own agendas.

Today you may be in a difficult season, but when we trust God to help us daily, we can experience new beginnings in our lives. Yesterday I wrote in my blog It is Finished, which described how Jesus paid the ultimate price for all our sins. He ended His life telling us all, “It is finished.” For many the thoughts of a good life, because where they placed all their hopes, was now dead.

The thing that they forget, and we all still do even today, is remembering the promises that Jesus told us. His life did end, but three days later, He rose from the grave, just like He promised. And this announced a new beginning for all of us. We now could talk to God anytime and anywhere. What a great moment this had to be for all his followers.

Today is also a new beginning as his mercy and grace for us is new each day we wake up and confront our busy schedules. When I surrender my day to allow God to be in control there is an opportunity for great things everyday. Many of us are not for sure what this new administration will bring, but we can pray for God to help the new team do everything for the good for America and our homes.

So you see a vote also leads to other things we can do to bring the peace we want everyday. Jesus did tell us that we would have trials and tribulations but He would still be there to help us. I think contentment takes some of the fear away, and makes certain we place our trust in something that will do the job. I am happy He has always told me in days like this,”I promise to never leave you or forsake you.”

Prayer: The world needs the peace you promised us along time ago when your Son was born in a small little stable. I am thankful you showed us what contentment looks like, and if we look at the real things in life that are for certain — you promise a life of hope and peace always. Amen

It is Finished!

Description:Years ago a man came to pay the price for all the evil that had taken place on this earth for all humanity. When the act of compassion was completed this man bowed his head and cried, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and died.

Verse: When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. John 19:30

As Jesus was preparing to give His life a ransom for Sin, the Bible tells us that He made this simple statement. “It is finished!” I believe that these are the greatest words Jesus Christ ever spoke to mankind. Today we too are happy and content when a big event occurs in our life as it represents a significant accomplishment.

These big events in our lives represent challenging times that we took with excitement not really grasping what was ahead of taking on the task. What if we knew all the requirements beforehand, so that we could have thought clearly before just saying to the person who asked us to do the task, “sure, no problem.” I know that I have taken on my own many tasks that if I had some idea of all that would have been required of me, I might have not been so eager to accept the responsibility of the task assigned.

We do this so often in life, not knowing what the outcome or requirements because of other reasons taking on the new responsibility. Possibly because we felt the responsibility or role to take on the assignment; or possibly be cause we wanted to impress someone or show we were capable of doing anything. To often we find ourselves head over heels with more on our plate that what we can handle.

But let’s think about the man who was sent here to make up for all the wrong decisions that you and I will make in our entire life. But this person was set down and told the whole story, every vivid detail that would occur from his birth to his ultimate death. Today we would say he was told the “whole story, and nothing was omitted.” But he had a big assignment ahead of him, and a short period of time to not only fix a major problem, but also convince why he ultimately came to earth in the first place.

The verse that is displayed so many times, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, that whosever believe in Him, would not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) He would have to convince the world that He loved them so much — that He was willing to give His life for me and you. But the real truth He came for everyone. The story was really great and it is recorded in a book that all of us have been exposed to one time in our life –the Bible.

I don’t have the time to go into all the details, but you can get your own personal copy of the book and read this great story of love. But here is what happened, the world decided it would be better for this person to be crucified for telling the story of His Father’s love for humanity. The good news many people accepted his free gift of salvation and followed Him all the way to a hill where he hung him on a cross to get this story to end for their reasons.

What they failed to realize was their plan was part of the details that were discussed between the Father and His son. When every detail of this horrible day occurred we celebrate today as “Easter,” the celebration of a risen Savior who died and was risen from the dead, and that finally someone paid for all the sins –the bad things and choices that all humanity has or ever will do was forgiven by His sacrifice.

When this man, they called Jesus said to the world, “It is finished!” There was nothing else that needed to be done by anyone, other than accepting the gift of salvation offered to all of us. I have never did anything of major significance as this man, but I do get that he cared more about me, than anyone else has ever cared about me. So possibly the next time when you are finishing a task that you agreed to do, you will remind yourself of what someone else did for us, because He loved us.

Yes, it is overwhelming to take in–but the fact is, He did it and we can rest no matter how we complete any assignment, and we have the assurance that our choices or our mistakes can be forgiven anytime and anywhere. I maybe finishing a big project today, but knowing that what Jesus willfully took for me is more than I can grasp, and I am grateful forever.

Prayer: Lord as we celebrate Thanksgiving help us be thankful not only for what you help us do for others, but where you did something greater for us by dying for all my mistakes and agreeing to forgive me and love me everyday. I am so grateful.
Amen

My Hope For Tomorrow

Description:This life can beat us down with trials, sorrows and debilitating worries. When it seems hopeless, God’s messages about our future hope can deeply encourage us no matter what the circumstances.

Verse: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”Jeremiah 29:11

Tonight as I wrestle with what I will do tomorrow, oh yeah, today is the night before the presidential election. America will cast their votes to who they want to lead America for the next four years.

Several years ago in the bible, the people told the prophet they wanted a king to lead them. So the prophet took their petition to God saying the people want a king to serve and lead them. I cannot imagine the conversation that took place that day, because God thought he had already given the people a King to follow and worship– Him.

Before our forefathers left England, they wanted not only a king but a system that would allow the people to decide who they wanted to be their President, Governor, Senators and local leaders through a voting process. I don’t want to focus on a party or the political system, but where I believe our true hope comes from.

There is no perfect person who can stand before any of us and admit they have never done wrong, but there is one that we can call on to serve any need in our life. Through this whole election process, I have encouraged all of us to unite in prayer and ask God to bring America back to their knees.

It seems sad that most of the times we think of God is when everything is going wrong. But he is available no matter what time of the day or how messed up we have made things. God knows all of us better than we know ourselves. And my hope is in Him, no matter who is elected. God is still in control and has not delegated his position to be given to any other party.

He can still make a bad decision turn out into something good, if we only allow Him the priority of our lives. I pray that this night will be peaceful, and all of us are thankful of the opportunity to express our choice by voting. Our person may not win — but if we are putting our hope in God, he can still make a decision into something good for you and me.

Prayer: Lord tomorrow if your will allows, is a major day for America, please provide wisdom and discernment when we cast our ballots for our national and local leaders. Lord please bring peace no matter what the outcome in this race. Help me show the love that you would to those around me. Whatever happens, I know my total trust and hope is in you always. Amen

This is my story

This is my story –this is my song

Description: The great composer wrote the song, “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine in 1873 that amplified that this song was not just a song, but this is my story.

Verse: Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy. 1 Peter 1:8

I always love to read someone’s story. What drives them to be who and what they are. But when the composer wrote the old hymn “Blessed Assurance,” she was telling of a story of not this life here on earth, but a story of victory and a life to come. The proclamation of Jesus being hers, had a tale that all Christians have been singing this song over 100 years can still bring tears to any saints eyes.

In our verse today it amplifies of a faith and love in someone that cannot be seen — but still loved. And because of this phenomenal belief, there is a joy that cannot be compared to anything else in this world. How can such joy be explained? How can there be love when there is no one seen, but still have a love that does not compare to any other kind of love?

The joy is in the story, the story may not be complete, but somehow the person is able to look beyond anything that can be explained, and sense something that only is in the depths of every Christian’s heart — an assurance that no one can remove, no one can steal, and no one can buy. It’s all mine!

The assurance that is available to anyone, is the invitation to being a member of the family of God, then you will know the composer’s story and why she felt the way she did. I will make many mistakes in my walk with Jesus every day. But I know I can ask Him with assurance to forgive me when I fail or fall in this life, knowing that He still loves me — and I can praise Him for assuring me that my story has a great ending — with Him.

Prayer: Lord, thanks for the assurance that I can be forgiven, and have a place with you someday. Thanks for this assurance as it is a hope of the greatest value in this life. Lord help me to sing my story to others — sharing the love and assurance as you give me everyday. Amen

I Am Not Perfect

Description: It is the duty of Christians to desire, and aim at, and press towards perfection in grace and holiness. And therein we must study to conform ourselves to the example of our heavenly Father.

Verse: Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48

Today I played golf with my father as I usually do when the weather is comfortable enough to play without layering up with a lot of clothes. It does make it very difficult to have a good swing when you are not restricted. My dad is almost 80 years old, and it is blessing for him and I to play every available day that we can play.

I wish I could play par golf and impress my dad, as I am almost 20 years younger than him, and he still can beat me with out trying very hard. But he always encourages me and coaches me the game just as he did when I was 15 years old. How he keeps his patience in alignment with all my mistakes. But every time I hit the shot correct I was always look back at him and say, “Dad what did I do wrong?” He only smiles and gives me the thumbs up.

In my spiritual life I have another father who is in the coaching business, who no matter how many times I make a mistake, is forgiving me and helping me get back on my feet again. Many times I tend to get mad at myself and allow shame and guilt to take over completely, versus just asking my heavenly Father for help with the mess I made in my life that day.

The old saying, “No One is Perfect!” I am certain most of us use this when we are wanting everyone to leave us alone, when in reality we should admit we made a mistake and will make sure the same situation never happens again. As Christians we are the light of the world that is hidden in darkness. And the last thing I need to be doing is making excuses for my mistakes.

Today what are you striving for in life? I know that I am not perfect, but I don’t want to be seen as someone that is not striving to be a better person. To me the person who is on target, admits they make mistakes from time to time — but hopefully not the same mistake. I can only get closer to being like my heavenly father when I am earnest about my ambitions in life.

Today I hit the golf ball off of number 9 tee, clearing the creek, and almost on the green. The whole was registered to be 320 feet to the hole, and my second shot was only 30 feet from the hole. This was the longest drive for me for this year, but I had to remind myself out on the golf course with my father was more important than hitting the ball almost to the hole.

I quickly thanked God for allowing me the time to play with my dad today, and seeing what was more important in life. I am certain I probably will never be a par golfer, but I want to live a better than par life for God.

Prayer: God thanks for allowing me to understand that I need to strive to be more like you because others like myself may have the wrong priorities in our life. Help me to work on my short comings that will make me more like you, and look to you as their role model, as I do everyday. Amen