Absorbing God’s Word

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Galatians 6:10

Applying God’s Word

The buyout contract between the new owner and myself does not allow me to receive compensation for servicing some of the smaller customers that I have come to love over the last 30-40 years. Therefore, I still service them out of loyalty. These good people have been there for me through thick and thin.

Not all of my customers are believers, but as far as God and I are concerned, they are part of an extended family. There is still an opportunity that, in time, they too will believe.

We should not expect compensation for our service to God, either. Our service to God should come out of our love for Him.

God is asking me to take care of all of His people, when given the opportunity.

Accounting of God’s Word

Do I do good for “All” of God’s people or only when compensation is involved?

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“The Opposite of Love”?

Absorbing God’s Word

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:25

Applying God’s Word

God not only blessed me with the gift of marriage, but also blessed me with two incredible wives, Joanne and Louise.

This week is the anniversary of Joanne’s death. Hard to believe that she has been gone five years.

It was during my marriage to Joanne that God revealed that love is not a feeling, but rather a decision. Therefore, I started making more decisions to love Joanne. That attitude has accompanied me into my marriage to Louise.

Even though Joanne is gone, keeping her memory alive is a decision that I make and a sign of my love.

The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is selfishness.

Accounting of God’s Word

Is love a feeling or a decision for me? Am I making decisions to love my family and friends?

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“Shooters” ?

Absorbing God’s Word

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

Applying God’s Word

There are no armed guards protecting our church. No one is at the front door checking bags for weapons. We are as vulnerable as the people at the Gilroy Garlic Festival were.

Violence and evil acts have been going on since the beginning of humanity. I fear for my loved ones and friends, because we are living in a world that is even more violent than when I was growing up.

God is asking me to live peacefully in the midst of turmoil and trust Him. He is asking me to bring His peace to others, especially those with troubled hearts.

Accounting of God’s Word

Do I face my fears and turn them over to God? Am I allowing my fears to govern my life?

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Absorbing God’s Word

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Applying God’s Word

Sometimes, I have a difficult time cooperating with the above scripture.

I showed up to pray each day this last week. I praised the Lord and gave thanks for everything, almost everything. I wasn’t giving God thanks for all the obstacles that presented themselves.

The obstacles didn’t bother me, but how I allowed them to disrupt my prayer time did.

The good news is that I have a wife who kept praying with and for me. That is something I do thank God for every day.

Accounting of God’s Word

Am I practicing to pray without ceasing in everything? What comes first each day, God or work?

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“Notching Our Gun”

Absorbing God’s Word

“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11

Applying God’s Word

The last three words of the scripture above are key, “prompted by faith”.

If in fact we are empowered by the Holy Spirit/Jesus/God to do the work He has set before us, all we are really doing is being obedient.

It is not a contest or about notching our gun with good works. God wants us to know Him well enough to sense when He is prompting our faith so we can act on His behalf.

Louise and I struck up a conversation with the owner of a local café. The owner shared that owning the café is not what she had planned to do. It’s a lot of hard work, but she feels blessed by it. What ensued was a conversation about the importance of living out our faith in all the areas of our lives, including the workplace.

Louise and I think that is why so many people eat at this café. ;>)

Accounting of God’s Word

Do I sense the prompting of God? Is God prompting me by faith to do something for Him? What?

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“24 Hours”

Absorbing God’s Word

“Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.” – Proverbs 25:28

Applying God’s Word

I hate waiting on people who do not seem to care that I am waiting. ;>) Don’t they know I have been waiting on them? No, of course they can’t, but I wish they could.

My simple rule is “Hey Jack. Cool your jets for 24 hours”. ;>) I envision writing an e-mail or letter expressing my disappointment. I wait a few hours and write that letter as if God were dictating it to me. I wait a little longer and rewrite the letter, infused with even more of God’s input and love.

By the time 24 hours has passed, my attitude has completely changed. My expectations and desire to lose control are gone. The letter no longer has any blame. What remains is God’s wisdom, patience and love.

Accounting of God’s Word

What do I do when I am losing control? Can it wait 24 hours? Is God part of my response or is it all me?

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“Freedom” ?

Absorbing God’s Word

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

Applying God’s Word

There is a lot of talk about freedom, in our world. Unfortunately, our definition of freedom is often wrapped in the external rather than the internal.

There is a price to pay for any kind of freedom. Sadly, most folks are not willing to pay that price, because it means sacrifice. Jesus offers us the ultimate internal freedom, if we are willing to surrender and follow Him.

It’s not easy to be a follower of Jesus. Like any relationship, it takes work. I don’t do it perfectly, but the internal freedom I experience through my relationship with Him allows me to stand firm, not burdened again by the yoke of slavery.

Accounting of God’s Word

Have I experienced the freedom that comes with following Jesus? Am I keeping my daily appointment with Him?

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“Empty Your Wallet”?

Absorbing God’s Word

“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:17

Applying God’s Word

Every now and again, God sends me someone in need of help. At some point during the encounter, I hear God say, “Empty Your Wallet.”

I am not wealthy by any means, but I usually have cash in my wallet for things like God’s work. 

Recently, God introduced me to a new friend who had run into some hard times. Minutes later, I heard God say, “Empty Your Wallet” for this man. Therefore, I did.

I had faith that the man’s story was true and faith that God confirmed it by asking me to help.

Accounting of God’s Word

Is my faith in God lived out through my actions?

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“Flamingo Guitar”?

Absorbing God’s Word

“Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.” Psalm 33:2-3

Applying God’s Word

I could hear the beautiful sounds of Sergio’s flamingo guitar, as I entered the restaurant. He began playing guitar at age six and has played ever since. When I walked by him, we each smiled and nodded hello.

Moments later, he asked, “Jack. Any song requests?” I said, “I love everything you play.” Then his fingers began to move across the strings effortlessly and with incredible skill. It was as if God was using Sergio to touch the depths of my soul with his music.

With tears in my eyes, I asked him if he played at church, too. His smile grew bigger as he replied, “Yes.”

On leaving the restaurant, we exchanged gifts and hugs. I gave him a Christian book and he gave me an autographed copy of his newest CD.

Accounting of God’s Word

Is my life singing a new song to the Lord? Do I recognize others who are singing God’s praises?

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Absorbing God’s Word

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.” Psalm 103:13

Applying God’s Word

We were only able to have one child and we named her Jacqueline. I feel incredibly blessed that God has allowed me to witness forty-five years of her life, so far.

Similarly, God has witnessed all the years of my life. I have to say that He has done so with great patience, compassion and love.

Knowing God has taught me the importance of embracing His patience and His compassion for our daughter. Doing so has helped me see her with God’s eyes and love her with His heart.

On this Father’s Day, I want to thank God for allowing me to be a parent. I want to thank our daughter for being so patient and loving while I was obtaining all the on-the-job training that I needed to be a better parent.

Accounting of God’s Word

Happy Father’s Day! Happy Parent’s Day!

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