Monday, December 26, 2016

"... mutually encouraged by each other's faith."

"I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong --- that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith." -- Romans 1:11-12

Whether we intend to or not we affect the lives of the individuals we come in contact with. We may  have a positive affect or a negative affect, but we will have an affect upon the lives we touch.

The Apostle Paul had already had an affect upon the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Philippians, the Colossians, and the Thessalonians. A positive affect! And, he longed to have a positive affect upon the Romans in Rome. With Paul it was all about relationships. His letter to the Romans was to prepare the way of his coming to them, to present the salvation message and to explain the relationship between Jew and Gentile as it related to God's complete plan of redemption.

May I ask a few questions of us? --- What kind of affect do we have upon the people we encounter? Do we enter relationships only for what we can get out of them? Or, do we go into a relationship seeking what good gift we can leave? Are we leaving lasting gifts of faith, hope, love, joy, thankfulness, gentleness, kindness, etc? We all leave something behind with each person we encounter, each person we come in contact with -- even if it is just a very brief encounter. People notice. Yes, they do. I know I do. I notice.

Bottom Line: May we be mutually encouraged by each other's faith. May we be more intent to leave a good gift behind no matter how brief the encounter. And, may we realize that people notice.  Amen? Amen.

Monday, December 19, 2016


What Child is This?
Written by William Chatterton Dix (1837-1898)

What Child is this who, laid to rest,
On Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The babe, the son of Mary!

Why lies He in such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce him through,
The Cross be borne for me, for you;
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The babe, the son of Mary!

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh;
Come peasant, king to own Him.
The King of kings salvation brings;
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise, the song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby,
Joy, joy, for Christ is born,
The babe, the son of Mary!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. – Isaiah 9:6-7a

Bottom Line: May we remember the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, not only in this seasonal time of the year but every day of the year. Amen? Amen.

Monday, December 12, 2016

"... possess these qualities in increasing measure ..."

"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." -- 2 Peter 1:5-8

Seven qualities or virtues of Christ-likeness that are to be added to our faith.  Look at them again -- goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love.

As believers, as followers of Christ these qualities should be part of our inmost being.  That does not mean we walk in them perfectly.  I will be the first to testify to my failure to do that. But, the presence of these qualities in our life should be increasing in our lives on a daily basis. Why? Because they help us to be effective and productive in our knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord. To me that means our testimony becomes stronger. And, in our encounters with others in our normal walk of life -- our very presence is a witness of our knowledge of Him because others will see the goodness, the knowledge, the self-control, the perseverance, the godliness, the brotherly kindness and the love that is in us through Him.

Bottom Line: May we increase in all these qualities.  And, may our daily lives reflect these qualities to all we encounter.  Amen? Amen.

Monday, December 5, 2016

"... love that surpasses knowledge ..."

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge --- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." -- Ephesians 3:17b-19

The love of Christ is wide and long and high and deep. His love surpasses knowledge, it surpasses our understanding. Have you ever asked, "How can you love this person, Lord? Look how they are living. Look at how they are acting. Lord, do you hear what they are saying? How can Your love be wide enough, long enough, high enough and deep enough for them?"

Well guess what?  IT IS! IT IS! And, Jesus sets the example by His command: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." -- John 13:34-35

How many know it is hard to love someone sometimes? We get hurt, we get pushed aside, we get devalued somehow. And we all go through times where we feel like we are being tested in our love for one another. Remember a couple of post ago about what agape love is -- seeking the highest good of another? We do that not with just words but with our heart and with our actions toward one another.
Bottom Line: May we know how wide and long and high and wide the love of Christ is toward us and may we extend that love to one another. And, may we adhere to the words of the Bible from I John 3:18 -- "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." Amen? Amen.

Monday, November 28, 2016

"The Greatest Gift"

When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. – John 12:44-46

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”  What a wonderful truth for us to receive, take in and meditate on.  Have you ever tried to imagine complete darkness? (Personally, I do not want to go there even in my imagination.  I like the light!  I like it when on December 22 the daylight hours become a longer part of our day.) But, have you ever tried to imagine no stars, no moon, no sun, no street lights, no lights from a neighbor’s house, not even a single match striking to light a single candle?  To me, complete darkness – total absence of light – does not depict a very inviting place to be.

Which is why I love this scripture so much! Jesus, sent by Father, came to show the Way, to light our path, to bring us out of darkness into his wonderful and marvelous light (I Peter 2:9) and to eternal life.

During this season of thanksgiving, where we usually give thanks for a lot of things in our life, let us not forget to give thanks for the most wonderful and greatest gift of all --  Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  Let’s give thanks to God our Father for sending (giving – John 3:16) us His One and Only Son --- the Light of the world who has taken us from dreadful darkness into lighted pathways where we can walk hand-in-hand with Him.

Bottom Line:  Jesus Christ, the greatest gift of all is the Light of the world and everyday for those who believe in Him, He faithfully lights up the pathways for us to follow. Amen? Amen.

Monday, November 21, 2016

"... undivided devotion to the Lord."

"I am saying this for you own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord." -- I Corinthians 7:35

Where does your devotion lie? With the Lord? And, is that devotion full time or part-time? By that I mean are you just devoted to the Lord on Sunday morning or just during your prayer time? Or, do you try to be devoted to Him all the time? Not just when you need Him -- not just when you are in a bad way.

Let me show you how devoted He is to you:

"The LORD  is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD  forever." -- Psalm 23

Bottom Line: May we always know how devoted the Lord is to us and may we always be devoted to Him at all times. Amen? Amen.

Monday, November 14, 2016

"Teach me Lord"

How many of us had a favorite teacher in school? One we knew understood us, had patience for us, did not give up on us? Mine was Miss King, my High School chemistry teacher. It was my second try as I did not do so well under another teacher the year before.  Miss King just seem to set a foundation for understanding that subject that I had not had before. She was patient, made sure we understood before moving on.  I appreciated that and needed that kind of teacher.

Let's look at the following verses:

"Show me Your ways, O LORD, teach me Your paths;" -- Psalm 25:4
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you." -- Psalm 32:8
"Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground." -- Psalm 143:10
"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." -- John 14:26

Miss King was a great teacher at the right time in my life. However, she has been long gone out of my life. Hear this -- there is a teacher who is always there for you and me. In good times, in bad times, through thick and thin, through our ups and downs, who will never give up on us, who is patient with us, who is understanding, etc. And that is the Lord Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Bottom Line:  With the Lord we are in school every day. So, may we be able to say every day, "Teach me Lord. Show me your ways."  Amen? Amen.

Monday, November 7, 2016

". . . a single command . . ."

The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." -- Galatians 5:14

The only way to fulfill this scripture is through the love of God. Knowing that God is love and that we love because He first loved us. (Read -- I John 4:16 & 19).

Two points:

(1) This love is, agape -- seeking the highest good of another.
(2) Neighbor literally means "the one near you at any given time."

Did you get that? Your neighbor is not just the one living next door to you. It is the one near you at any given time. At the gas pump, in the check out line buying groceries, in the booth next to where you are eating, in the vehicle that just cut you off in traffic, the waiter or waitress waiting your table,etc.  I am sure you could think of other instances of where you may have a neighbor in your life circumstances.  Wherever you may be, are you treating those near you at any given time as a "neighbor"?  Neighbors give of themselves without expecting anything in return. (Read the Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-31)

Bottom Line: May you be a neighbor wherever you may be and there is someone near you. And, may you love your neighbor as yourself. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

"But as for me ..."

"But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." -- Joshua 24:15

We have a choice to make -- a freedom of the will: (a) Serve the LORD; (b) Serve other gods.  Some type of service is inevitable. But keep in mind, whoever you choose to serve, you serve them and all they represent. There is no compromise or the ability to remain neutral. It's all or nothing.  All for Him or some other god. Joshua's choice was to serve the LORD. And, his choice was never regretted.

Remember, your house is anywhere you live -- a single room or many rooms, a motel, a palace, a modest home, mansion, alone under the stars or in a tent. And, in your house includes all who are with you -- your household.

Bottom Line: May you choose to serve the LORD. And, may you lead your household to do the same.

Monday, October 24, 2016

 Fix Your Eyes on Jesus

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." -- Hebrews 12:2

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus ...".  Can we be honest with our self and ask, "Where are our eyes fixed?"

On our circumstances, on our troubles, on our hurts, on our wants, on our woes, on the current national election battle, on the changes in our life, etc?

The writer of Hebrews clearly states where our eyes are to be fixed -- what they need to be concentrating on.  But, that does not mean we will not have to deal with circumstances, troubles, hurts, wants, woes, elections, changes and a whole litany of other things in our life day in and day out.  However, in facing all those things it will go much better for us if our eyes are fixed on The One who is responsible for authoring and perfecting our faith to get us through it all -- Jesus Christ.

Bottom Line: In all things at all times fix your eyes on Jesus. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

David's heart before the LORD

Read Psalm 141

David had a very open way of pouring his heart out to the Lord. Look a little more closely at these verses in Psalm 141:

Verse 1: "... come quickly to me. Hear my voice ..."
Don't we all want that?
Verse 3: "Set a guard over my mouth ... keep watch over the door of my lips."
Can we be honest enough with ourselves and with God to ask for this as David did?
Verse 4: "Let not my heart be drawn to what  is evil ..."
We need to know as David did that there is evil in this world trying to pull our hearts away from God.
Verse 5: "Correct me when I have done wrong --- it is a kindness ..."
Wow! How many times have we actually and truly asked for correction and considered it "kindness"?

Verse 8: "But my eyes are fixed on You ..." 
Where are our eyes fixed? May it always be on Him. May we not be distracted away from Him.
Verse 9: "Keep me from the snares of the enemy ..."
Snares are always hidden and disguised so they are not easily recognized. This is a request of God we need to make everyday.

David was very specific in his prayers to the LORD.

Bottom Line: How willing are we to be open and honest in our prayer life with the LORD?  Exposing our shortcomings to Him. Asking Him to correct us, to set a guard over our mouths, to protect our hearts from evil. May we be willing to be as open and honest and true as David was to himself and to the LORD.  Amen? Amen.


Monday, October 10, 2016

"... strong tower..."

"The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe." -- Proverbs 18:10

 Hearing the word "safe" in this scripture reminds me of playing "Hide and Seek" as a kid. If you made it back to the base you would yell out for all to hear, "Free Base!" Meaning that you were safe from being caught. And, if you were "it" you would say, "Got you!", when you did catch someone.

I have heard people say, "God is out to get me.", when things did not go their way. Hear me loud and clear -- God is not out to get us! God is the "free base".  He is the strong tower. He is our refuge. He is our source of security and safety in all things. Amen?

When you need a friend, He's the free base -- run to Him, the Strong Tower.
When you need comforting, He's the free base -- run to Him, the Strong Tower.
When you are not sure of directions, He's the free base -- run to Him -- the Strong Tower.
When you are in trouble, He's the free base -- run to Him, the Strong Tower.

Bottom Line: Who is our strong tower?  May the strong tower in our life always, always, always -- be the LORD God Almighty -- the maker of heaven and earth. And, may we always run to Him for in Him we now and always will have a "free base" where we are safe.

Monday, October 3, 2016

 ..."standing firm in the Lord."

"For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord." -- I Thessalonians 3:8

 Paul had sent Timothy back to the church in Thessalonica to find out if they were still holding to the faith (see I Thess. 3:5) -- the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Verse 6: "But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love."  

Timothy found them "standing firm in the Lord". They were found standing firm -- not in the ways of the world, or the way of present day society, or in selfishness, or pride, or the enemy, or the politically correct. But they were found "standing firm in the Lord"
Question: If someone were to be sent to check on you --- will you be found standing firm in the Lord? Or will they find you standing firm to ideas and ways and attitudes and pressures that are not of the Lord?

Bottom Line: May we all be found "standing firm in the Lord" whenever anyone comes to check on us. May we be found standing firm and true to Him and His Word. May we be found standing firm in Him so that good news about our faith and love can be reported back. Amen? Amen.

Monday, September 26, 2016


What are we doing with the Word of God?

"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yield its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers." -- Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV)

A lot in these verses we could talk about. I want to concentrate on, "What are we doing with the word of God? James 1:22 -- "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." (NIV)

Are we reading His Word? Are we delighting in His Word? Are we allowing His Word to penetrate us? Are our hearts meditating on His Word? Are we allowing His Word to nourish us? Add to us? Make us stronger in Him?

His Holy Word is not just for apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. (Ephesians 4:11). His Word is for all of us. We all -- every man and every woman -- have a responsibility to His Word.

Bottom Line:  May we delight in His Word. May we meditate on His Word. May His Word be planted and watered in us. May His Word yield the fullness of its fruit in every season of our lives. May we continually prosper in the midst of His Word.  And, may we  be doers of His Word. Amen? Amen!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Monday Morning

"... unwholesome talk ..."

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." -- Ephesians 4:29

"unwholesome", the KJV Bible translate as "corrupt". 
Webster's definition of unwholesome: detrimental (tending to cause harm) to physical, mental, or moral well-being; corrupt (rotten, decaying, worthless, dirty, foul)

So, what does "unwholesome talk" cover? It covers things said that cause harm -- can we add gossip and  slander? It covers things said that are foul and dirty -- can we add off color jokes and foul language? It covers things said that are worthless -- can we add opinions that really do not matter? It covers things said that are detrimental -- can we add things said to intend hurt towards others and just plain rudeness?

This scripture tells us that what comes out of our mouths should be helpful for building up because people are listening.  We encourage -- we do not discourage. We lift-up -- we do not put-down. We do not gossip -- and we put a stop to it when it is trying to be passed on. We choose not to express ourselves with foul or dirty language. We choose not to be rude. We choose not to say hurtful things. We choose to keep some opinions unspoken.

I will also add: This applies to your thoughts, too. Words come to us by our thought processes. We think them before we speak them.  Now I will say that some are pretty fast on the draw and you may wonder if they ever put those words through a thought process.  Have you ever said to yourself, "Wish I had never said that."? Then you know what I am talking about.

Bottom Line: May the words of your mouth, the talk that comes out -- be wholesome and clean and uplifting and encouraging. And, may we remember these words from David: "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14  -- Amen? Amen.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Monday Morning
"Where are you?"

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called out to the man, "Where are you?" -- Genesis 3:8-9

Have you ever heard God call out to you? "Morris, where are you?" "Frank, Craig, Willie, Sylvia, where are you?" "Johnny, Jimmy, Amy, Tom, where are you?"

Why was God calling out to Adam? Let me take a few liberties here of what I envision: To me it is kind of obvious that this was a daily routine, if you will, between God and Adam and Eve. For them to hear the sound of God as He was walking in Eden. And I envision Adam and Eve seeking God out and saying, "There You are, glad to see You today." And they would fellowship.

But this day was different. Adam and Eve heard but did not seek God out -- They hid from God. Yet, yet --- God called out, "Where are you?"

I believe God enjoys our fellowship. That is part of why He called out to Adam and Eve. He enjoys being among what He created.

Is God having to call out to you or do you hear and sense His everyday presence and  seek Him out on your own? As husband and wife, do you seek Him out?

Bottom Line: May we know that God enjoys our fellowship. And, may we seek Him out everyday! Amen? Amen.

Monday, September 5, 2016


  Christ as Lord

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord." -- I Peter 3:15a

"...Christ as Lord." --- So many times we refer to Jesus, as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And rightly so because He is! But if most of us are honest, we dwell mainly on Him as Savior.  He saved me from my sins, from the wretched life I had before.

How much do we actually dwell on Him being "our Lord". Because that means -- He is in charge and we are submitted to Him and His authority in and over our lives. Paul, in Romans 1:1 and in Titus 1:1 refers to himself as "a bond-servant of Christ Jesus" (NAS). Meaning that whatever Jesus said, or directed, or instructed or commanded  of Paul -- he was willing to do because in his heart he had set apart Christ as Lord.

Bottom Line: Who is the Lord of your heart? Who is directing your heart? Who are you allowing to instruct your heart? Who are you giving command over your heart? May we all "set apart Christ as Lord" in our hearts.  Amen? Amen.

Monday, August 29, 2016


An Ever-Present Help

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

I could probably just read this and say, "Okay, just meditate on this for the rest of the day."  Such a powerful scripture because all scripture is God-breathed and the Word of God is living and active.

Just think about it -- "our refuge and strength" -- He is our place of comfort, our place of security, our place of provision, our place of healing, our place of redemption, our place of blessing, our place of favor, our place of justice, our place of mercy, our place of peace, our place of forgiveness.

Just think about it -- "an ever-present help" -- Always, always, always! There is never a time when He isn't there. There is never a time when He isn't there to help us when we cry out. There is never a time He isn't there to give the answers we need. There is never a time when He isn't there to give and show us the way out or through our life circumstances and situations. There is never a time when He is not there with us as we persevere in the midst of trouble that comes our way.

Again, what a powerful scripture that should be -- no not should be -- but a powerful scripture that IS living and active in us. Declare it so today with me.

Bottom Line:  May we know God is our refuge and strength and may we know that He is ever-present for us. Amen? Amen!