“Paranoid or Prepared”?

Absorbing God’s Word

“Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.” Matthew 25:2-4

Applying God’s Word

The word “Paranoid” suggest that I would be extremely fearful. On the other hand, the word “Prepared” suggests that I would be in a state of readiness.

I like being as prepared as possible. Much of that thinking comes from my time in the Navy. They drilled us constantly on being prepared so that we would not be caught off guard or surprised.

I’m pretty sure that the Covid19 Virus has opened our eyes to the fact that, individually and as a country, we were not prepared. Even when we are prepared materialistically, there’s a good chance we may not be prepared spiritually. Times like these, make me take a closer look at my list of priorities.

Accounting of God’s Word

Is God first on my list? Do I give God time each day while there is still plenty of oil in my lamp?

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“Opportunities Galore” ?

Absorbing God’s Word

“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” Galatians 5:9

Applying God’s Word

It only takes a little bit of yeast to make a loaf of bread, huh? It only takes a little bit of God’s love to impact the life of one other person.

In the beginning, this “Shelter in Place” order gave me reason to be a bit selfish. There was little or no interaction with others. So, I decided to use my time for home projects that had been pushed aside.

The Lord had something else in mind. He woke me up one night with a list of more important things to do like: praying and reading the scriptures more, calling all of my customers to see if they and their families are okay, using Zoom and FaceTime meetings to connect with people who are all alone or isolated and continue paying for things like housekeeping, so our different provider’s incomes will not be interrupted.

Incredible! This is a time filled with opportunities galore for spreading God’s love.

Accounting of God’s Word

How is God asking me to use my time while sheltered in place?

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Absorbing God’s Word

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Applying God’s Word

Through this “Shelter in Place” order, I have a much deeper appreciation for the things I take for granted, especially being with others.

Here is a note that my granddaughter found on her front porch from her best friend.

“This coronavirus is turning out to be kind of a bummer because I don’t get to see you as often as I’d like to. I miss you so very much and I wish we could hang out, but social distancing is important, I guess. I wish I knew the last time we hung out would be the last time for a while and I wish I would have stayed longer. I really want a hug from you. Wish you were here but this is for the best! I hope you and your family stay healthy and safe. Sending all my love.”

Accounting of God’s Word

Am I writing, talking to and encouraging those that I love?

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“Where’s God In This”?

Absorbing God’s Word

“For now, we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

Applying God’s Word

At one point in my life, my spiritual vision of God was a blur at best. The reflection in the mirror has become clearer the more I get to know God. I still only “know in part”, but eventually I will know fully; we all will.

Situations like Covid-19 cause most of us to look in the mirror. We also ask, “Where’s God in all of this?” God is right where he always is; inside of us. He has empowered you and I with His Holy Spirit so that we can cope with all situations.

Accounting of God’s Word

What do I see when I look in my spiritual mirror? Are things becoming clearer to me? Have I asked the Holy Spirit for wisdom on how to cope?

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“Doctor Li” ?

Absorbing God’s Word

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:12-13

Applying God’s Word

I think that in small ways each of us have laid our life down for someone else. We might not have given up our physical life, but we may have done something small that has had a greater impact than we ever thought.

A thirty-three-year-old doctor in China (Dr. Li Wenliang) laid down his life for you and me, in February of this year. Dr. Wenliang has become a national hero in China and throughout the world. I know he is a standout man in my book because he did the right thing.

We are told that this Covid19 hits hardest with folks who are older and yet it really doesn’t seem to discriminate when it comes to age at all. It didn’t for Dr. Wenliang.

I was praying about the Coronavirus, a few days ago. I asked God for an answer. What I heard back was “Don’t be scared, but be smart.”

Accounting of God’s Word

Thanks Dr. Li Wenliang for caring about all of us.

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“Half As Much”?

Absorbing God’s Word

“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.” Romans 12:13

Applying God’s Word

As I’ve written before, my good friend Bob has Parkinson’s and is in a skilled nursing facility. The Parkinson’s has robbed Bob of his autonomy. He can no longer get in and out of bed without assistance. He struggles with things I take for granted, like shaving, brushing my teeth and feeding myself.

I try my best to make our encounters fun and enriching. I read scripture to him, pray with/over him, give him sips of water and feed him. While feeding Bob this last time, I had put too much yogurt on the spoon. He smiled at me and mumbled, “Half as much, Jack.” I was touched by His patience with me and I began to cry.

When God uses us to feed someone else, He is also using them to feed us. We can’t out-give the Giver, huh?

Accounting of God’s Word

Who are the Lord’s people in my life that have a need? Do I see how God uses others to touch me?

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“More Than That”

Absorbing God’s Word

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19

Applying God’s Word

Last week, the world lost an incredible man of God. Denny was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and friend, but he was so much more than that. Denny was an apostle of Jesus Christ and I was one of the students that he discipled.

Denny and I first met on a Christian men’s retreat in April of 1987. After that weekend and at the urging of the Holy Spirit, Denny continued to stay in contact with me. Every encounter with Denny was filled with encouragement and God’s love.

Denny’s example of living his faith out in all the areas of his life, including his work as an attorney, really impacted my life. It inspired me to keep my morning appointment with Jesus every day for the last thirty-three years. Denny also challenged me to know God personally and not just know about God.

Thanks for laying down your life for me, Denny Kehoe. (REF: John 15:13)

Accounting of God’s Word

Who am I encouraging and/or discipling right now?

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“Forty Days”?

Absorbing God’s Word

“At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.” Mark 1:12-13

Applying God’s Word

I have felt under attack for the last forty days. I experienced being attacked on all fronts; spiritual, physical, emotional and intellectual. I admit that I found myself on my knees more than once, rebuking Satan at every turn.

Satan loves to separate us from God and he does whatever it takes to accomplish that end. The goal of the enemy is to destroy us and our faith in God.

On the forty-first day of the new year (2-10-20) it was over. All my medical tests came out great including those done on my heart. The dizziness that had held me hostage was lifted as fast as the day it arrived.

During the 40 days, I kept asking God what He wanted me to do for Him. His answer came this week. He said, “Jack. It doesn’t matter what you do for Me. I will be present in all that you do.” Wow. It wasn’t audible, but it was very clear.

Accounting of God’s Word

Have I felt pinned down by the enemy or separated from God, recently? Am I keeping my eyes on Jesus? Am I rebuking the enemy at every turn?

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“My Ticker”

Absorbing God’s Word

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

Applying God’s Word

A couple weeks ago, I had an electrocardiogram to see if my ticker is working properly. I had the opportunity to watch my heart on the monitor, as the technician moved the ultrasound wand to different positions.

My technician (Paige) and I discussed just how miraculous the human heart really is. That conversation opened the door for us to talk about our Christian faith. Maybe that’s why God wanted me to have an electrocardiogram. I get the results on Monday.

Either way, I know that sooner or later my heart will fail. Until it does though, God will continue to be the strength of my heart and my portion.

Accounting of God’s Word

Am I more focused on how long my human heart will last or if God is really the strength of my heart and my portion forever?

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“Remember Me”

Absorbing God’s Word

“Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:42-43

Applying God’s Word

Right before he dies, one of the thieves hanging on the cross next to Jesus puts his faith in Jesus. Jesus then grants the thief his request.

Last Sunday afternoon, nine people died in a helicopter crash. Most of us will remember this tragic incident because Kobe Bryant was one of the people who died in the crash.

All the people on board were important people, though. They were gifted children, proud parents, dedicated coaches and skilled professionals. All were loved by their family and friends.

We’d like to think that before each of them died they requested to be with Jesus in His kingdom. We know for a fact that Kobe Bryant was at church last Sunday morning prior to getting on that helicopter.

Accounting of God’s Word

Have I asked Jesus to remember me to His kingdom? Am I inviting others to do the same?

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