Tuesday, May 28, 2013

True Value

You wake up and prep yourself for another day. As you drive to work you fiddle with the car radio controls, not really knowing what you want to listen to, as you find yourself still in a comotose state left over from your night's sleep. I think we all can relate to mornings like this once in awhile.

Then when we arrive at work to begin our busy day, we still find ourselves in a state of am I awake yet? hopefully my morning cup of coffee will perk me up. As your day continues you become aggitated at every little thing that may go wrong, and your usual pleasantness has turned to grumpiness. You obviously did not wake up to start your day with the feeling of wanting to conquer the world today.

Well, it takes about 30 days to establish a new habit. Worshiping God should be our daily ritual for those of us who have chosen to follow Christ.

The true value of worship for all believers in Christ begins when you wake up and you make the choice to allow the Holy Spirit to guide you and carry you through your busy day.

The true value of worship is seeking the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.

The true value of worship is it brings honor and glory to Him who gave you breath today in order to praise Him.

The true value of worship is it brings peace into your life, even through your struggles.

The following story comes out of 1 Samuel 30, where David and his men came home to disaster:

Three days later, when David and his men arrived home at their town of Ziklag, they found that the Amalekites had made a raid into the Negev and Ziklag; they had crushed Ziklag and burned it to the ground. 2 They had carried off the women and children and everyone else but without killing anyone.

3 When David and his men saw the ruins and realized what had happened to their families, 4 they wept until they could weep no more.

David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the Lord his God.

8 Then David asked the Lord, “Should I chase after this band of raiders? Will I catch them?”
And the Lord told him, “Yes, go after them. You will surely recover everything that was taken from you!”

So David comes home to find his town completely in ruins and all the women and children of the town were taken away. David immediately went and found a place alone in the presence of God and found strength.

David knew what to do in an emergency because he formed in himself a habit of praise. David knew the true value of worship when in a bind.

When we form a habit of worship and praise into our daily lifestyle, and enjoy ourselves being in the presence of the Lord, God takes great delight in that and will go to battle for you in your circumstances.

When you wake up with this new habit of worship, each day you will find a new song upon your lips to sing.

You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. (1 Peter 3:4)

I've heard it said that old habits die hard, but if you can take 30 days to form a new habit, one of worship, it will be one of true value each and every day you wake up.

If you live in an area with no access to a Bible, click on www.biblegateway for more of God's encouraging Word.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It's A Two-Fer Week

It's 4:20 in the afternoon on a Monday, a quiet stillness fills the air. No sound of wind blowing, no birds singing, no crickets or grasshoppers chirping, not even the sound of rescue sirens, just an eerie silence; all of this just 20 minutes after a 2 mile-wide tornado rips through a small town near Oklahoma City. There are 2 horses seen grazing in a field amongst the ruins of what was once the Orr Family Farm. A couple more horses are seen wandering in disarray with blood on them. A shirtless young man filled with black soot crawls out from underneath a shredded piece of metal unscathed. For some reason I was able to view all of this live as it was unfolding, safe from my home in sunny Chicagoland. I was working on some projects on my laptop and somehow found a live feed from a local television station in Oklahoma City.

The gentleman who owned the farm for 40 years was sitting in a golf cart surveying the damage of what was barely left from the storm. As the camera scrolled toward the man you could see in his face the shock and bewilderment of what had just happened. He just sat there in a comotose state.

 Not in a million years could I come up with any words to describe how that farmer must have felt at that very moment, nor would I ever want to feel what he must have been feeling. An elevation of discouragement came from his voice as he was then interviewed by a reporter.

He explained that everything was gone, all of the family and workers had survived, but they lost around 70 horses. The farm was an attraction for local visitors who would come to ride the horses and ponies and learn about them as well. This was the livelihood for this man and his family.

After all is said and done, I am sure this gentleman will be able to find some gratefulness to the fact that all of his family survived, but that doesn't take away the pain and discouragement.

A few minutes later the same news feed reported on the two grade schools that were in the direct path of this monster storm, both schools were leveled flat while school was still in session. At that moment all I could do was pray.

Again a few minutes later, a school teacher shows up in a barely touched neighborhood near the school with several of the children. All of them walked away from the rubble with just scrapes and bruises. The reporter would read off a list of names of the children that were present. Some of my prayer had been answered.

As of this writing 9 children have been declared dead. I can't even imagine what their parents must be feeling, especially as I watched other parents show up in this neighborhood to pickup their children.

No prayer is ever wasted. No prayer is ever too late. Say a prayer for Moore, Oklahoma.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

All Roads Lead To...

It was after midnight in a small town in Florida; the cab drove up and down the dim lit street searching for the old lady's home to no avail. The woman continued to badger the driver that this was the neighborhood she lived in, she just couldn't find the street she lived on for years. All of the familiar sights around her neighborhood were there except the street she lived on.
After about  half-an-hour of franticly searching, the cab driver suggests the old woman call one of her relatives or friends, as the driver pulled off into a gas station so she could use a payphone.

The elderly woman, who had been out-of-state for a month, chose to call one of her neighbors. Her neighbor explained to her that while she was gone the village had replaced the name of her street with a new name. The reason behind the name change was that for years there was a street with the same name on the other side of town, which caused confusion obviously.

This was one of many stories told to me by an elderly woman I used to pickup and drive to church with me on Sunday mornings.
An odd story that I usually don't reflect on too often, until most recently, as one of my favorite songs right now is called
Help Me Find It, by The Sidewalk Prophets. A song that deals with putting our trust in God as we faithfully choose to follow His direction for our life:

If there’s a road I should walk
Help me find it
If I need to be still
Give me peace for the moment
Whatever Your will
Whatever Your will
Can you help me find it
Can you help me find it

I've heard it said numerous times in my life that all roads are paved with good intentions. And the struggles and trials we go through are for a greater purpose in building up one's faith and trust in the Lord. It is just a matter of us choosing to make the right choice and trusting God in His direction and believing what He has promised us:

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God." Romans 8:28

The secret to success is sticking with God's purpose and plan for your life. There may be some bumpy roads along the way, but if you are on the right path you will not get lost.

"The strength of man consists in finding the way in which God is going and going in that way too."- Henry Ward Beecher

If you live in an area with no access to a Bible, click on www.biblegateway.com for more of God's encouraging Word.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Can't Keep a Good Kid Down

Earlier this month, a former Navy chaplain offered a $1,000 reward to any student who says a prayer during a graduation ceremony at a school in St. Johns County, Florida.

It was in 1992, that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public schools cannot sponsor prayer at graduation ceremonies, citing a violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

Just recently an Arkansas school cancelled sixth grade graduation because one parent protested of a prayer that was to be recited.
The school received a letter from Freedom From Religion Foundation on behalf of a parent.

“How very sad that our culture is collapsing under the weight of religious intolerance that it is fearful of a prayer,” he said. “Prayers are said in Congress, at presidential inaugurations, and by chaplains in our military. To forbid a prayer at a school activity because one person objects is just sad." - former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

If this makes you angry, you may take solace in the fact that these evil-spirited organizations are not going to win, even when they think they are.

Because no matter where you live and while you are reading this post:

Somewhere there is a kid praying for help as he takes that final exam.

Somewhere there is a kid praying for protection as he sits down at the lunch table where the school bully happens to be sitting.

Somewhere there is a young lady with an inferiority complex  praying for confidence as she walks through the school halls.

Somewhere there is a kid praying for strength and agility as he competes in gym class with bigger, stronger kids.

When we follow the wise instructions of Proverbs 22:6,

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.

than we know we are winning against what the enemy wants to do differently with our kids and youth.

No matter how discouraging it may seem, God is still doing great things and His power has never changed, just as the song reminds us:

Let God's power do a work within.

He is able to do more than we can comprehend.

- God is Stll Doing Great Things, Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

Don't let the world dictate what you can't do when God says, "You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you." (Phil.4:13)

If you live in an area with no access to a Bible, click on www.biblegateway.com for more of God's encouraging Word.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Can You Say,"Wow" Three Times?

Wow #1:  Hockey player Josh Harding of the Minnesota Wild was thrown into the spotlight for becoming the starting goalie for the playoffs. What is so significant about this? Harding is playing while battling MS. I like his no holds barred atttitude of not letting his illness hinder his joy of playing a sport he loves.

Wow #2: Worship leader Tim Timmons has a hit single on his hands called Starts With Me. A song written on behalf of a young Pastor asking a wise old Pastor for help to start a revival in his church. The wise old Pastor just drew a circle on the chalkboard with a stick figure in the middle with the word me. These lyrics provide the answer to how a revival can start for any of us who follow Christ:

You're my revival song, you start where I belong
On my knees, on my knees
When I am weak or strong you meet me here
When I'm on my knees, on my knees
Oh, it starts with me.

A simple message, revival starts on our knees. If worship leader Tim Timmons, who by the way is battling cancer, can travel the country leading folks into worship, and reminding them that anyone can start a revival just by spending time on their knees; than I think any of us can go out there and make an extreme impact no matter what may be hindering us.

Wow#3:  Carman, a Christian singer for years and known mostly for his theatrical stage shows and videos, is battling cancer and has been given only a very short time to live. His attitude, a simple one:

"The best way I can go on the offensive against the forces of darkness is to... make more music. That is my slingshot to slay the giant. God is once again giving me new songs, new melodies, new messages, new ideas and a renewed passion to tour."

What these 3 wows have in common is they chose to live on the offensive. Don't let anything stop you from your dreams, your goals, your worship time with God, and ministering to others.

Do not walk through time without leaving worthy evidence of your passage.