Monday, January 16, 2012

Forgotten, But Not Forsaken

Thought for the Day

Genesis 40:13-23  
Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up your head, and restore thee unto thy place: and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh's cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou was his butler.  (14)  But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house...  (23)  Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgot him.

Joseph served Pharaoh's butler with a sincere heart and with pure motives. His only request was that when things turned around for him that he would "remember" Joseph; in other words, that he would mention him and try to help him out of his difficult situation of being a prisoner for unjust reasons. Well, the day came as Joseph predicted and the butler was freed and restored to his position of prominence, but he "forgot" Joseph.

How many times do we reach out to help others, to show them some kindness and it is re-payed with ingratitude or even dismissed as not that big of a deal? Most of us have experienced this at one time or another. As parents, we experience it regularly with our kids. It seems that they can easily dismiss as ordinary or expected the tremendous sacrifices that we make for them daily. How about when it comes to our jobs; we put in the extra time and go the second mile to benefit our employers and yet these acts of sacrifice are overlooked. 

If we are not careful, we can allow these "slights" to create in us  an "I don't care attitude" and push us into a lifestyle of mediocrity. We must, as Joseph take these oversights in stride and realize that ultimately we may be forgotten by man, but we are not forsaken by God. Joseph spent several more years in that prison, but in God's perfect timing his consistency and service was noticed and appreciated. He was finally rewarded for his devotion and elevated to a position of great prominence.


In this life, we may not be elevated to a position of prominence because of the sacrifices of service we make, but we are not overlooked by our Lord and we must realize that in Christ, "our labor is not in vain". It is seen; it is appreciated; and it is rewarded by God in His time. Even if that means in eternity. Go the second mile today. Re-dedicate yourself to a standard of quality and excellence that is pleasing to the Lord and serve others not for man's recognition, but for God's.

If you are uncertain of your relationship with God check out the link at

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Vision from the Valley

Photo: Vision Night prep for this coming Sunday.

Thought for the Day

Genesis 28:10-17
And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. (11) And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. (12) And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. (13) And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; (14) And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. (15) And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. (16) And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not. (17) And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

Have you ever experienced the restlessness of God in your life? If you have then you full well understand the concept of your pillow being "a stone". No physical event or object can satisfy or bring solitude, even those things that are so typically depended upon. I think it is the mercy of God that brings us to the place of these restless times. They are not something we would seek or in any way desire. Jacob called it a "dreadful place"; but nonetheless, it was the "house of God". It was the place of God's choosing to meet with Him.

It is in these kind of times that God releases His vision for us, for our lives, for our future. Jacob was blessed with seeing the reality of the eternal, and God's plan to give Him a possession. And the best part of all was that the Lord would be with him every step of the way!

God has brought my life through many restless places, but during each one His presence has become clearer to me and more certain. Don't fight the restless times, don't try to assuage them with temporal comforts. Look to the Lord for expalnation and purpose as He unfolds His eternal vision for you.


If you are experiencing unexplained restlessness in your life right now, consider for a moment that it may simply be God speaking. It may be His attempt to bring you to a point of desperation where only "He" makes sense. Seek Him today. Open your life up to Him completely and allow Him to reveal to you His chosen vision for your life. If you are uncertain of your relationship with God check out the link "How to Know God" at to Know God.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Way Leads to Worship

Photo: New web site launches this week.

Thought for the Day

Genesis 24:26-27  
And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD.  (27)  And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who has not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master's brethren.

"Being in the way, the Lord led Him." What a great thought that God's leadership in our lives is found by simply getting up each day and determining to do the right thing by Him. We speak of living for the glory of God; in practical terms this is just living to put a smile on His face. The servant of Abraham was "in the way"; he was in the path of pleasing his master when things fell in place for him. But don't ever think for a moment that God's purpose in leading us is to fulfill our willful bents. When the servant saw that his desires had been realized what did he do? He worshiped! Putting a smile on the face of God, worshiping Him, is our chief aim; it is our delight.

Stop right now and commit your way to the Lord. Determine to put a smile on His face and then by faith, worship Him. Express your love for Him as inadequate as it may feel because he delights in the humble recognition of His lordship in our lives. If you are uncertain of your relationship with God check out the link "How to Know God" at

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy are... the Poor in Spirit

Thought for the Day
Matthew 5:3
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

What? Being poor will make me happy? Not necessarily; the Lord is not saying here that there is happiness in physical poverty. As a matter of fact, I grew up pretty poor and would not say that it brought a whole lot of happiness to me. The arena of poverty to which the Lord is speaking is in the spirit. Poverty is defined as a deficiency of necessary or desirable ingredients to adequately sustain life. Jesus is telling us that it is only when we recognize the complete and utter deficiency of our heart apart from God's grace that we can truly experience the kingdom of God. 

One person put it this way, "When we realize that Jesus is all we have, we discover that He is all we truly need." I think John the Baptist gave us the mission statement for being poor in spirit when he said of Jesus, "He must increase, but I must decrease." Right there lies the secret to the blessedness of being poor in spirit; it is only when we see that the answers and resources necessary for a blessed life are not in us, that we discover the true riches of God's wisdom and grace in Christ. Jesus said in John 15:5, "Without me you can do nothing." This is poorness in spirit - the recognition of Jesus as my all in all! 

Do you see yourself as nothing without Christ? If not, the happiness and peace of mind that you seek will continue to allude you until you take the burden off yourself that was never designed for you to carry, that of sustaining your own spirit. That is a Creator sized burden and we must relinquish it to His good hand.

If you are uncertain of your relationship with God check out the link "How to Know God" at

Monday, May 2, 2011

Happy Are...

Thought for the Day
Matthew 5:1-3
(1)  And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:   (2)  And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,   (3)  Blessed are ...

Happiness is a commodity that is desired by all, but obtained by seemingly few. Today we have our views on what will bring happiness, and herein lies the problem in our hearts- God has a version of happiness and we have our own version of happiness and they are at odds with each other. Our own pursuit of happiness often leads to frustration and turmoil because we seek it on our own terms rather than our Lord's.  

In the beatitudes Jesus lays out for all the true definition and path of happiness. The word blessed that Jesus used has the idea of inner happiness that comes from a self-emptying, God seeking, and others serving course of life. It can be found only in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

We must come to the end of ourselves and yield to the all-wise plan of our God today to truly experience the life altering happiness that can come from Christ alone.

If you are uncertain of your relationship with God check out the link "How to Know God" at

Friday, January 7, 2011

Christian Perfection

Thought for the Day
Matthew 5:43-48 You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy. (44) But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you; (45) That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (46) For if you love them which love you, what reward have you? do not even the publicans the same? (47) And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more than others? do not even the publicans so? (48) Be therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

When we think of defining perfection or even someone trying to be perfect, we come away with a much different view of the subject than our Lord does. Most people view perfection in light of not making mistakes or elevating ourselves to a high level of appearance or performance. God places perfection here in the context of how we demonstrate His love to others including our enemies. We are to "be perfect" as "our Father in heaven is perfect". He does this by allowing His sun to shine and His rain to fall on the good and the bad. (v.45) Of course this does not mean that He overlooks sin and allows just anyone into Heaven, but it shows that His compassionate acts as the Creator toward His creation is not limited to just those who treat Him with the honor He is due. If our Father is willing to demonstrate such unbounded compassion, why not us? Why not me? Be perfect; treat others with the kindness the Lord has shown to you!

Find that person who is getting on your last nerve today and show them kindness, not because they deserve it, but because this is what your Father does. This is true perfection!

If you are uncertain of your relationship with God check out the link "How to Know God" at

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Praying For Persecuted Christians In Iran

TEHRAN (AFP) - Iran has arrested a number of Christian missionaries in Tehran province and vowed to detain more of them, the provincial governor was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA on Tuesday.

Morteza Tamaddon said "the leaders of this movement have been arrested in Tehran province and more will be arrested in the near future."

He did not give their identities, so it was unclear whether they are foreigners, Iranians or a combination of both.

Nor did he explain what he meant by their belonging to a movement, which he called "deviated" and "corrupt."

He referred to them as "tabshiri," or missionaries, and likened them to the Taliban.

"Just like the Taliban... who have inserted themselves into Islam like a parasite, they have crafted a movement with Britain's backing in the name of Christianity," Tamaddon said.

"But their conspiracy was unveiled quickly and the first blows were delivered to them," he added, without saying what they were allegedly conspiring to do.

"Various kinds of fake, deviated and corrupt cults have sharpened their teeth for our beliefs and one can see their activities among the youth," he said, branding Christian missionaries as an example of "cultural onslaught" against Iran.

Christianity is among the recognised religions in Iran but, under the country's Sharia-based law, renouncing Islam, or apostasy, is punishable by death.

However, some Christian converts have been jailed in recent years and media have reported several crackdowns on "home churches" in predominantly Shiite Muslim Iran.

Christians, Jews and Zoroastrian minorities are free to practise their religion but they are not allowed to proselytise, and their women have to observe the mandatory Islamic dress code in public.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Lighted Path

Thought for the Day
Proverbs 4:18
(18) But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

Several weeks ago Annabeth asked me why God makes us wait until we die to see Heaven. This is a very common thought for us humans. I often wish that the Lord would show me all the details of his plan for me all at once, but this is not the way He works. His plan is reveled gradually, like the way the lights on a car only illuminate what is immediately in front of me. It is as I move into the light that I have that more light is revealed. It shines "more and more" as I move closer to Him. Even when Israel was sent in to conquer the promised land, they were told that God would drive out their enemies from the land "little by little" (Ex 23:29, 30). He does not show us His plan all at once or we would probably become completely overwhelmed.

Walk in the light that God has given you today. Find one thing in His Word to act on today and the next step will become increasingly apparent.

If you are uncertain of your relationship with God check out the link "How to Know God" at

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tis the Season to NOT Grow Weary

Photos: The Fellowship Carolers work tirelessly during the Christmas season ministering at several Tampa Bay area hospitals and cancer centers. A beautiful bear is given to every patient. This year over 500 bears were distributed. This is a great testimony of the selfless love of Jesus.

Thought for the Day
Galatians 6:9-10
(9) And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
(10) As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Does doing good ever wear you out? I know that in my life there are times when I feel so depleted that I just want to hide from people. Of course this is just an indication that my spiritual battery is running low and is in desperate need of a recharge. This is what the Apostle Paul is conveying to us in this passage. The Christian life is not a wind sprint; it is a marathon! The answer to fatigue is not to quit running the race, but to live with balance and regular times of drinking deeply from the well of God's Word that His grace may sustain us. Serving others is a basic tenet of our Christian Faith. It is not optional for a believer; it is the essence of being a believer! As my old pastor used to say, "I don't want to retire, I want to re-fire." Let's re-fire for Jesus this Christmas season!

Be sure to take time today to come apart for some personal reflection with the Lord. The time spent in doing this will multiply the rest of your time today. God will be no man's debtor. Give to Him His due and He will repay you in abundance!

If you are uncertain of your relationship with God check out the link "How You Can Know God" at

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Dwelling Place for God

Photo: Cheryl and C.J. on the back property at the church.

Thought for the Day
Ephesians 2:19-22
(19) Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
(20) And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
(21) In whom all the building fitly framed together grows unto an holy temple in the Lord:
(22) In whom you also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Its amazing to me how the Lord has assembled together so many different types of materials in order to build His church. As I look at our local church I see the diversity of age, styles, preferences, economic status, culture, and on and on, yet we are built together by God in order to be an appropriate dwelling place for Him. There is truly a bond in Christ that defies human wisdom. It is a shame that many churches do not reflect the unity of spirit that is perhaps the greatest witness of who Christ truly is. Our God delights in the unity of His people because it is a reflection of His essential character.

Are you living in unity with those that you call your church family? Do all in your power today to resolve any conflict you may possess with others. Life is short, don't waste it! There is really no excuse for a divided church; this is a great tragedy because it portrays a distorted image of our God.

If you are uncertain of your relationship with God check out the link "How to Know God" at