“Anxious To Worship”

Absorbing God Word

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

Applying God’s Word

I walked outside, took a deep breath, looked up at a clear blue smoke-free sky and said, “I take way too much for granted. Forgive me Lord.”

Admitting I have taken way too much for granted all of my life, I began making a mental list of those things. Sadly, there’s not enough room in this writing to share them all with you. My important takeaways from that mental list though are my time with God, family, all of you and worshipping together as a church again.

We have to believe that there are plenty of nonbelievers who have not given a second thought to churches being closed. There are also many believers who have become content with going to church on-line and who may adopt this as a permanent habit in the future.

Not being able to attend church doesn’t work for Louise and I. We look forward to worshipping God with others. It is important to our spiritual lives and to our Creator. We have gone to church on-line and have also found small outside services to attend. Anxious to get back to church, we pray that all the churches will be packed to overflowing in the near future.

Accounting of God’s Word

Am I looking forward to worshipping with others at church again? Is church one of the things I’ve taken for granted?

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“Sins Of Omission”

Absorbing God Word

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:13 & 16

Applying God’s Word

A couple of weeks ago I sent out a “Challenge” titled “Walk The Walk”.

A friend and someone I respect dearly wrote back saying, “I don’t agree that promises made and kept are the sole way by which one can and must judge the character of a candidate. Fidelity to the constitution, fidelity to vows, fidelity to scripture, fidelity to national traditions, truth telling, honesty, consistency and many other criteria are in play.” I loved his words of wisdom and wanted to pass it along to you.

There are so many things that we need to consider as we weigh issues, we truly value. I value new life. Early on, I didn’t think much about childbirth. Then our daughter was born with a heart defect and our first grandson died full term. Every baby I’ve seen and/or held since then has been a miracle of God. Therefore, I can’t remain silent about the issue of abortion.

Although the abortion rate is decreasing in the United States, we are still allowing over 600,000 abortions each year. For me to remain quite about this issue, is a sin of omission.

Accounting of God’s Word

Does God want me to remain silent or stand up for His truth?

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“Peacemakers”?

Absorbing God Word

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9

Applying God’s Word

We all know who the peacemakers are supposed to be, right? You and I are supposed to be the peacemakers. Unfortunately, we presently live in a world that requires some help in that area.

This week, I received a reference form from the San Jose Police Department for a young man wanting to become an officer. My first thought was who would want to be a police officer these days. Then I saw the name at the top of the form. It was the son of a former employee of mine.

I met Bruce shortly after his mom came to work for me and, as the years went on, we got to know each other well. What a fine young man. The last time I saw Bruce was at his mom’s funeral a couple of years ago. He had just returned home from an overseas tour of duty in the army.

When I called Bruce to confirm the reference, I asked why he wanted to become a police officer. He told me he thought it may be a way for his life to make a positive difference. I’m sure Erica would be proud of him. I am.

Accounting of God’s Word

Am I one of God’s peacemakers? Is my life making a positive difference?

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“Walking The Walk”?

Absorbing God Word

“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:9

Applying God’s Word

All Jesus does to determine a person’s authenticity is to look at whether they are talking the good talk or walking the good walk.

It’s almost election time and folks are starting to rattle their sabers for one side or the other. The finger-pointing is getting worse by the minute.

In casting my vote, I just look at promises kept or broken. Sometimes, that means voting across party lines. I’m voting for the person who has a track record for getting things done, even though how he accomplishes it may go against the grain. Jesus went against the grain, but we all benefitted by His getting done what He came to do. 

This election is probably the most important one in history. If the wrong person is elected, we may be kissing our religious freedom goodbye forever…. that and so much more. 

Accounting of God’s Word

Am I walking the good walk or talking the good talk?

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“It Takes Time”?

Absorbing God Word

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

Applying God’s Word

There are so many folks dealing with losses right now; the loss of loved ones to Covid19, the loss of jobs and now the loss of homes due to recent fires. These kinds of losses can draw any of us into the different stages of grief.

I remember what I went through six years ago, when my late wife Joanne died. First came shock and denial. Joanne couldn’t be gone. Anger followed and most of it was directed at myself. What did I do wrong? What could I have done to save her? Even though depression has never been a problem, I tanked almost immediately. Spending time in two different grieving groups, time with incredible friends and time with Jesus brought me into a stage of acceptance. I was motivated to persevere and I sensed that God was truly empowering me to put grief underfoot.

We are called to pray for those who are grieving deeply right now. It takes time!

Accounting of God’s Word

What am I doing to work through my own stages of grief? How am I helping others deal with theirs?

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“God’s Strength” ?

Absorbing God Word

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13

Applying God’s Word

Today, is a great day for a list of reasons, but more importantly because our friend Bob is coming home. Bob has been released from a nursing home that he’s been confined in for over seven months.

Bob knows what it’s like to have plenty, but he has had to learn the secret of being content. At times, he’s waited over an hour for water or to be turned over, and he has waited months to be in the same room with his wife and family. Bob has been able to endure all of this, because he loves God and understands where his strength comes from.

Thankfully, he will be back home with a fulltime nurse during the day and cared for at night by his wife, Joan.

Accounting of God’s Word

Where does my strength come from?

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“Account Ability”?

Absorbing God Word

“Then shall you call on me, and you shall go and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:12

Applying God’s Word

One of the most “Challenging” things I’ve ever committed to is prayer. It’s become so life-giving that I can’t imagine life without it. Here is what a few others say about prayer.

Oswald Chambers said, “We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense.” Mother Teresa said, “So few things are necessary, and prayer is one of them.” Billy Graham said, “Prayer is a conversation between us and God. Matthew Kelly says, “Prayer is the antidote for the poison of busyness.”

Matthew Kelly is the only one out of the four quoted still alive. I just read his latest book on prayer titled, I Heard God Laugh. I loved his transparency about the ups and downs of communicating with God. He shares with the reader the format for prayer that he has used over the last thirty years. I highly recommend it.

The one thing I’ve learned about any commitment is the importance of accountability. I have my wife Louise as an accountability prayer partner and I have a daily prayer journal.

Accounting of God’s Word

What do I hear God saying to me when I meet with Him? Who do I look to for account-ability?

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“Five To Ten”?

Absorbing God’s Word

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  2 Chronicles 7:14

Applying God’s Word

I used to get out of bed in the morning, shower, shave, dress, grab coffee and be out the door. Every Sunday, I’d give God an hour at church, which meant that I spent the other 167 hours of the week doing something else.

I only prayed when I was desperate for God to hear me. I never even thought about the fact that God may want something from me. What could I possibly give Him that He didn’t already have? How about my heart?

On a Christian retreat for men thirty-three years ago, I discovered the gift of daily prayer. I was given a simple format for prayer to use every morning called ACTS. It stands for Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving and Supplication. I was asked to use the ACTS format and pray 5-10 minutes a day for 30 days. Easier said than done.

That weekend didn’t change my life but praying daily for the last 33 years has. I’ve been humbled by meeting with God each day, seeking His face and turning from old ways. God always forgives sin and that’s what has healed every area of my life.

Accounting of God’s Word

Do I believe that God can still heal our land through prayer? Yes!

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“Relentless”

Absorbing God’s Word

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10

Applying God’s Word

There once was a man who lived in a two-story house.  The house was near a river and the river began to flood.

As the river rose, a man in a jeep offered to help the homeowner evacuate. The homeowner said, “No thanks. I want to stay with my belongings.” The water continued to rise until it was just under the second story window. A man came by in a boat and offered to take the homeowner to safety. The homeowner said, “No thanks. I want to protect my belongings.” Eventually, the homeowner ended up on his roof with most of his valuables. A helicopter pilot hovered over the homeowner offering to save him. The homeowner said, “No thanks. I have too much to lose.”

This story is a reminder of how “Relentless” God is in His pursuit of us. I was like the homeowner above. I was afraid to leave all the things I thought made me happy to follow Jesus and discover true happiness. I was focused on what I would lose instead of what I would gain.

Accounting of God’s Word

How many times has Jesus offered to save me? How many times have I said, “No thanks?” Am I afraid of what I would lose instead of what I would gain?

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“Deepest Poverty”

Absorbing God’s Word

“Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” James 2.5

Applying God’s Word

This verse from James reminds me of a quote from Mother Teresa. She said, “Abandonment is an awful poverty. There are poor people everywhere, but the deepest poverty is not being loved.”

Yesterday, I drove some distance to see my friend Bob who is in a nursing home. It would only be a window visit, due to the Covid19 virus. Bob’s nurse came outside to tell me that Bob wasn’t up to the visit. At that moment, her eyes filled with tears and she broke down. It is evidence that God continues to touch others through Bob.

I know that Bob has had moments when he thinks he’s been abandoned, but I keep reminding him about how much he is truly loved, even by his nurse.

Accounting of God’s Word

Do I know anyone who feels abandoned that could use a visit, a phone call or a card?

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