“Never”

Absorbing God’s Word

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Luke 21:33

Applying God’s Word

Our Thanksgiving celebration was relatively small, but all of us seemed to share an attitude of gratitude. It was evident that the people in our company were thankful for the day, but more importantly for life itself.

My takeaway from the day was a silent reflection of all of God’s blessings. I have a wonderful family, great friends, satisfying work, wonderful customers, clothes to wear, food to eat, a place to sleep and God’s purpose for my life.

The scripture above says that all things will pass away and that includes all of us. The scripture also confirms that the only thing that will never pass away is God’s truth, His “Word”. Pretty valuable, huh? His Word is in the world but not of the world, and it is free to you and me.

Accounting of God’s Word

“What things in my life are more important than God’s Word, His truth?

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“Get Low”?

Absorbing God’s Word

“One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.” Luke 17:15-16

Applying God’s Word

I don’t know how many times I have experienced God’s mercy, grace, and healing…too many to count. Fortunately, I’ve become very good at remembering to thank God after experiencing a positive response to prayer for myself or someone I know.

Unfortunately, I am sometimes complacent about just praising God. It’s not like I need a reason to throw myself at the feet of Jesus in thanks and praise. Every time I have praised God through meditation, on my knees or prostrate before him, I’ve experienced an overwhelming sense of His presence and love.

The world is in a tumultuous season which breeds doubt, high anxiety, and legitimate concern. This Thanksgiving is an opportunity for each of us to give God thanks and praise. It’s a good time to jump, shout, dance, sing and to let God know that we haven’t lost sight of His incredible generosity and love.

Accounting of God’s Word

Have I thrown myself at the feet of Jesus lately? 

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“The Greater Love”

Absorbing God’s Word

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13

Applying God’s Word 

Last week, some folks in America were kind enough to honor everyone who is presently serving or who has served in the armed forces.

I used that day to honor my high school friends who served during the same time that I did. Many of them fought in Viet Nam and never came home. I was a Second-Class Radioman (E5) on a submarine called the USS Sea Cat. That was my home, for three years. Submarine duty was considered hazardous and yet I sensed that being under water was one of the safest places I could be.

I fondly remembered my father, grandfather, and Louise’s father. All four of us served in the Navy for a total of twenty years. Then I reflected on the hundreds of thousands who came home wounded or had laid down their lives so I could live free.

I finished the day by standing alongside other veteran’s as we saluted the lowering of the United States flag. As I stood there, I asked myself if I would still be willing to lay down my life to preserve freedom for our children and grandchildren. Yes, without hesitation.

Accounting of God’s Word  

Have I enjoyed my freedom enough to lay down my life to preserve that freedom?

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“Bookmarks”

Absorbing God Word

“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16

Applying God’s Word

I used to be reluctant about sharing my love for Jesus with others. Not anymore!

Each year, at Christmas and Easter, Louise and I donate spirit-filled books to struggling churches that don’t have the ability to do it themselves. We just delivered “Life Is Messy” in Spanish and English for every parishioner of a San Jose church. We know all the books won’t be read, but we also know that receiving a gift may have more of an impact than the gift itself.

We ordered another 100 copies to give away personally. Our first gifts were for two tellers at our bank. Maria and Beatrice serve people all day long through those little windows and do it with a smile. We gave them each a copy and told them to look for the bookmark, a $10 bill inside. (Something wonderful about giving money to a bank teller.)

Then, when Chris, Art, and Isaiah came to work at our home, we gave them each a book with a bookmark. Art read the title and said, “I really need a book like this right now.”

Finding ways to give is a wonderful way to experience the love of God.

Accounting of God’s Word

What are the little things I can do for others that please God?

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“Seventy Five”

Absorbing God Word

“They will still bear fruit in old age; they will stay fresh and green.” Psalm 92:14

Applying God’s Word

Next month, I turn seventy-five. I feel younger than that, until I look in the mirror. :>)

My entire life has been blessed by God’s presence, but unfortunately there were seasons when I was too distracted or selfish to recognize it.

To briefly break it down: My pre-teens wrapped me in a multitude of fears. My teens smothered me in poor self-worth. My twenties were adventurous and exciting. My thirties left me distrusting and suspicious. My forties had me intrigued with enlightenment. My fifties found me consumed in personal transformation. My sixties were the most spiritually challenging. My seventies have opened my heart even more to the importance of continuous communication with God.

I’ve never sensed a greater need to evangelize; to grasp every opportunity to introduce Jesus to someone new. I can only bear fruit and remain fresh and green spiritually if I stay close to the one true source of nourishment, Jesus.

Accounting of God’s Word

Am I still bearing fruit for God? Who/What is my source of spiritual nourishment?

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“Record of Wrongs”

Absorbing God’s Word

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Applying God’s Word

I love my parents and am reminded often of the wisdom they imparted to me as a young boy and eventually as a young man.

I wasn’t a difficult child or teen, but my issues of poor self-worth concerned my parents. They tried to bolster my self-confidence by mentoring me to work in service-related jobs. I mowed lawns, took in ironing, babysat, held cakewalks in our driveway, had two paper routes, sold different items door to door, and never once realized how their efforts would shape my future. They were patient and kind and kept no record of wrongs. They simply loved me.

Recently, I spoke to a good friend of mine who shared that his parents have done the same for him. We love our parents in return, when we treat them with patience and kindness and never keep a record of their wrongs.

Accounting of God’s Word

Do I treat my parents with patience and kindness? Am I keeping a record of their wrongs or simply loving them?

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“Knowing Jesus”

Absorbing God’s Word

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Applying God’s Word

I had an opportunity to speak at my friend’s funeral Friday. Bob and I made a Christian men’s retreat together in April of 1987. The scripture that highlighted that weekend was Galatians 2:20.

We left that weekend with the realization that we knew a lot about Jesus, but we didn’t know Jesus. The retreat challenged both Bob and I to have a relationship with Jesus and to trust God with our lives.

Bob did just that and he did it with great humility. He led by example, never boasting about what he did. It was always about what God was doing through him.

Accounting of God’s Word

How’s my friendship with Jesus? Do I know about Him or do I know Him?

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“Never Offered”

Absorbing God Word

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7

Applying God’s Word

Last weekend, Louise and I spent a few days in Paso Robles for our six-year wedding anniversary. While there, we did a little wine tasting.

Each wine tasting room has a host or hostess that makes the process of tasting and buying wine easier. They are very knowledgeable about the different varieties, grape types, boldness, etc.

Louise and I asked one wine hostess, Kara, about a certain wine. She said, “I’d like to taste that one myself, but it is never offered at tastings.” We decided to buy two bottles, asked her to open one and to bring back three glasses. After the three of us had a small taste we told her the rest of the bottle was hers to keep. She was overwhelmed. “Thank you so much. No one has ever done that for me before,” she said.

It was one of those God moments, for Louise and me. We hoped it was also a God moment for Kara.

Accounting of God’s Word

Who have I surprised recently with cheerful giving? Who has surprised me recently with cheerful giving?

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“What’s It Take”?

Absorbing God Word

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10

Applying God’s Word

I’ve promised my love and devotion twice, once to my late wife Joanne 5/23/1970 and again when I married Louise 10/3/2015.

In my eyes, these two incredible women have fulfilled the above scripture. Both have been there to catch me when I’ve fallen. I have also had multiple opportunities to be there for them.

Sometimes a young couple will ask what it takes to be happily married and I tell them it’s a four-letter word. They say, “You mean LOVE.” I reply, “No. WORK.” It takes work to keep a married couple’s love alive.

Louise and I will celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary this weekend. We would like you all to celebrate with us by watching the attached eleven-minute video titled “Two Shall Become One” by Allen Hunt. It’s an ordinary story of extraordinary love.  

Accounting of God’s Word

Who do I know that may want/need to see this video besides me?

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“Unplugged”

Absorbing God Word

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

Applying God’s Word

For the first forty years of my life, I believed in God and went to church almost every Sunday. I didn’t know Jesus or the Holy Spirit. I didn’t know what it meant to be a witness. How could I? I was unplugged. It wasn’t until I gave God permission to release His Holy Spirit in me that I really felt plugged in and empowered to pray differently, understand scripture, and tell others about Jesus.

I love praying with others and encouraging others to have a closer walk with Jesus, but that’s not what it means to be a witness. I am a witness to others when I am living and loving the way Jesus does. I don’t do that perfectly, but I’m doing it a lot better these days than I did thirty-five years ago.

People are not impressed with how holy we act or how much we are doing in the name of Jesus. They are moved to have a closer walk with Jesus because of the way we are living. They know by our actions if we are really plugged in.

Accounting of God’s Word

Have I given God permission to empower me with His Holy Spirit? Does my life resemble the life of Jesus at all? How plugged in am I?

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