Friday, May 30, 2008
When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. James 3:3-6
A horse is a powerful animal with a strong, wild nature. But a bit, as small as it is, can control the entire animal. The same concept is true with a large ship. A small rudder has the ability to steer the entire vessel through the wind and the waves.
In the same way, your tongue, which is small in comparison to the rest of your body, has the ability to control your life. And it can either do good or do harm, depending on how you use it.
Scripture tells us that the tongue can kill, maim and destroy or it can heal, save and build. It is up to you and how you use your tongue. Don't spew words that do damage to those around you. Because when you do, you are really causing damage to your own life as well.
Instead, use your tongue to guide and direct your life toward Christ. Build others up with your words. And discover the true power your tongue has to help you experience the life God has laid out before you. -Ed & Lisa Young
A Prayer for Today
Dear Lord, I know that my tongue has tremendous power to steer my life and influence the lives of those around me. Help me to communicate only those words that will glorify and honor you. And as I continue to build others up, help me to grow closer to you. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
The reading of the day. MAKING A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE.
If you touch one life, you may make a difference between life and death--physical as well as spiritual--for another human being. If you make it a habit to do what you can, when you can, where you can, you will be transformed as you help others.
"...offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-- his good, pleasing, and perfect will." Romans 12:1-2
Here is a video of Randy Pausch that a friend recently told me about . I'm currently reading his book. His life fits into our series that we've been in because he probably now has about one month to live and has a great talk called, "the last lecture." This is the first part of an interview about his story and you can watch his entire lecture on youtube. It will be well worth your time.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
My good friend Roger Burke recently got back from Kyrgyzstan where he was serving with the military in the ongoing war on terror. He sent me this flag that was flown in battle on April 20, just one month ago, which is pretty sweet. I could buy a flag in the local hardware store and it would have meaning, but there is something special about a flag that was a part of a battle. There is a story that goes along with it. It's similar to our lives. Something different happens in our lives when we are used by God is this epic battle between light and darkness. When we are used by God for His Kingdom, it becomes part of our legacy and we become a part of His. The reading for today was found in Psalm 145:4 (MSG), which says, "Generation after generation stands in awe of your work; each one tells stories of your mighty acts." The devotional called 'Planting for the future' said, "People are created in God's image as spiritual beings who will live for eternity, either with Him or apart from Him. If you invest in people's lives, then your legacy becomes like a giant oak, providing life for generations to come."
Like the flag I got in the mail today, I pray that my life would represent more than just a symbol. I pray that it would represent a legacy of encouraging others to greatness in God. I want my life to ooze(?) Jesus and be an example for generations to come.
I had a great weekend reconnecting with old friends who were in town and enjoyed meeting many of the new people in our church family at our annual all-church Luau. I always feel like I need a vacation after weekends like memorial day weekend as I'm sure you do. I'm done eating hamburgers and hot dogs and it's not even summer. Anyway, as we embark on the last week of the one month to live challenge, I am asking God to speak to me (and all of us). The series has taught us to Live passionately, Love completely, Learn humbly and to Leave boldly. This week I am going to ask everyone to write their own obituary. It really is a sobering thing to do. I challenge you today to get a head start on writing your own obituary. You only have time to write your obituary while you are living, when you die, somebody else will write it for you. What will yours say?
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
“…the tongue of the wise brings healing”
Today's Word from Joel and Victoria
Are your words bringing healing to the people around you? The Bible clearly tells us that life and death are in the power of our tongue. We can use our tongue to build people up and encourage them with words of healing, or we can just as easily sow negative seeds with our words. The Bible says that the tongue of the wise brings healing. Choose to be wise today by choosing healing words. Choose to look for the best in others and build them up. Choose healing words over gossip; choose words of freedom and peace over anger and judgment. Let your words uplift and encourage the people in your life. Speak strength and hope to others. As you use your words to bring healing, God will pour out more of His wisdom in your life. You’ll reap the harvest you’ve sown with your words. God will pour out His blessing and increase in your life so you can live the abundant life He has in store for you.
A Prayer for Today
Father in heaven, today I choose to be wise and bring healing to others with my words. I ask for increase of Your power and ability in my life so that I can live to honor You in all I do. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Yesterday and Today's verses
"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's sake." Psalms 23:2-3
"...in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:6
I've been studying for this weeks message and trying to hear God's voice. The theme is 'leave boldly.' I've been thinking a lot about that and reading through the last stages of the disciples lives. All but 2 gave their lives for Christ. One died of old age and one lost his way. I want to live my life so that I will hold tightly to God's purposes and loosely to this world like they did. They lived their lives in such a way that enabled them to leave this life boldly. I've been thinking about what my regrets will be at the end of my life and I want to try and avoid them. What do you think your regrets will be? Ask God to guide you today and to help make your path straight in how you live your life for Him.
Monday, May 19, 2008
What a fun weekend! It was very busy. I had the opportunity to perform a really great wedding, attend a graduation party for one of our super-volunteers and visit a friend's new baby. I also went to my children's soccer game and helped take care of my son who was sick. Sunday morning was really cool as we watched our church family take steps to 'learn humbly.' It was a great weekend and I'm glad and thankful for God's many blessings in my life. I'm exhausted. The end. Pictures may follow. (not of me being exhausted)
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I am almost at the mid-way point of one month to live. I haven't yet accomplished everything that I would like to with this series from a personal basis. One of the things that I'm working on is celebrating my friends and family more. Last night I spent the evening with a close friend who was in from out of town. It was great to catch up and encourage one another in our spiritual journey. I still want to grow closer to my family and especially to God. I am enjoying my time with God but I want to keep going deeper. The verses for the last 2 days scheduled reading have been...
Ephesians 4:26-27, "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold.
Romans 15:7, Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
These verses are so powerful. They seem simple and reasonable, but through life experience I know that they are very difficult to live out. Sometimes I get angry and give the devil my foot, leg, upper torso... The foothold generally affects my attitude. My attitude towards Gods authority in my life. Other times I don't accept people for different reasons or excuses. I want to live these scriptures out today. I want to be someone that works through anger and someone that is accepting of others, even if I don't agree with their lifestyle. As a Christ-follower, I am not called to stand in judgement of others. That's God's job. I am called to be a light in a very dark world. Who do you need to forgive today? Who do you need to 'accept' that isn't like you? Start today, tomorrow is not promised.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Help Others Succeed
“Send your grain across the seas, and in time, profits will flow back to you” (Ecclesiastes 11:1 NLT).
God’s system works on the principle of sowing and reaping. What you pour out will come back to you in increased measure. When you give generously, a generous harvest will return to you. When you help others succeed, you will find abundant success on your path, too. What are you investing in the lives of the people around you? Are you helping others get ahead? There are people in your life who hold the keys for you to reach your full potential. These are people that God has placed in your life for you to help along. The higher they rise up, the higher you will rise up. When you give generously of your time, talent, and resources, you are setting yourself up for greater success. People will come across your path that will help you grow and reach your full potential. But you have to do your part to step out and sow the seed. Be on the lookout for ways you can help others. As you give of yourself to help others grow, you’ll rise higher and live the abundant life He has in store for you.
A Prayer for Today
Father in heaven, I open my heart to Your heart. I invite You to use me to be a blessing in the lives of others. Show me where to invest my time, talent, and resources for Your glory. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Today's Verse- 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."
Today I turned 34 years old. It never ceases to amaze me how the years continue to go by. I am a very blessed man and thankful for all that God has given to me. This year has been a roller coaster with both highs and lows and the unexpected. Today was much like that. I woke up to my wife being sick, my son's Carter and Colby being sick and a whole lot to do before tomorrow. I had a dentist appointment this morning. I had my teeth cleaned for the first time in awhile, now I remember why I have been avoiding it. Anyway, it was not how I planned for today to go but it's been a good day. That's life isn't it? The issues of life can be obstacles or opportunities depending on how you view them. Today I had some great opportunities to take care of my family. I'm really thankful that God has given me 34 years on this earth and I can only hope that he'll give me 34 more to live for him. If I had 26 days to live I would do what I've been doing all day long, how about you?
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Power Surge, Matthew 11:28-29, "Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
It's odd to think about your life as if you have only 27 days to live. The scripture for today is about casting your burdens on Jesus. I find that even though I have followed Christ for over 2 decades, it still is easy to forget that He is always right there waiting to help and to give us life to the fullest. Most of us go through life like I go through the airport when I travel with my family. I pack all of the luggage that I can onto one of those rental carts in the airport. Then I carry the rest as my wife and I walk with our 4 young children while pushing our double stroller and carrying our carry on bags to the baggage check-in. I'm getting worn out just typing the picture of that crazy scene. After going through the airport and getting through security where our kids are sometimes flagged as suspected terrorists for the next generation, we walk into our freedom. The feeling that we have when we get past the check-in is always one of freedom, relief and like we now have extra-hands. The burden of 'stuff' is lifted. That emotion and feeling is what we can experience when we take all of the stuff off of our lives that we have unintentionally piled on. We do that by placing our cares and needs onto Jesus. We do that by getting rid of the unnecessary stuff in our lives. You figure out how to do that be asking yourself a clarifying question, "what if I had one month to live?"
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19).
Today's Word from Joel and Victoria
Everyone goes through seasons of difficulty and challenge in life. One of the enemy’s traps is to isolate you and convince you that you won’t make it. But God promises that He will deliver the righteous out of all of their afflictions. You are righteous because of your relationship with God through Christ Jesus. You are righteous simply by having faith in Him, His goodness, and the promises in His Word. If you’re going through a tough time today, keep an attitude of faith and expectancy. Declare His promises over your life. You are more than a conqueror through Him! The joy of the Lord is your strength! As you continue to stand, even during the difficult times, you can be assured that victory is on the way. It might be today…it might be next week…next month, or next year, but God is faithful! Through faith and patience, you will inherit the promise. You will get beyond your difficulty, and you’ll increase in wisdom and strength and live the abundant life He has for you!
A Prayer for Today
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your promise of victory in every area of life. I choose to trust You, knowing that You are working behind the scenes on my behalf. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Tuesday, May 6th
Today I am in Dover, Delaware at our Assembly of God Ministry Summit that we have each year during the month of May. I look forward to gathering together with fellow pastors each year from our district to hear vision for the upcoming year. It's a great time to get re-connected with old friends and encourage one another. Some of my heroes are in the picture above. John & Theresa Decker were the Lead Pastors of Freedom Life and I was the Youth Pastor prior to becoming the Lead Pastor 5 years ago. I thank God for the different people that God has placed into my life in different seasons that have helped me become a better husband, father and Christ-follower. If I had 28 days to live I would think back to people like the Decker's that have believed in me. I would contact the people that have loved me and gone out of their way to be a blessing to me and my family over the years. That is the kind of person that I want to be to others. We shouldn't wait until we have one month to live to take the time to thank those that have invested into our lives. Take some time and send them a note or a quick e-mail today to extend your appreciation! What will you do with your 28th day?
Monday, May 5, 2008
Monday, May 5th
Yesterday I enjoyed watching the small group video with my friends. It talked about how life was a lot like a roller coaster. I remember being scared to death of them as a kid and I still get nervous when I get on them. I remember standing in line with my older sisters and my Dad (my mom never got on, she was the smart one). They would manipulate into getting into line in preparation to ride the roller coaster. I remember many times standing in line and getting all the way to the front of the line and leaving. I would leave that line after standing for 45 minutes and go and be with my mom. I would say, "someday I'll ride that!" That 'someday' has come, I now ride the coasters with my eyes closed and squealing like a little girl. (funny thought, so I thought I'd post the picture of what it would look like) When I look at my life and think about some of the things that I said I would do, some of those things are still undone. I'm asking God to help give me the passion to put those dreams front and center in my life and begin to fulfill them now.
"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." Romans 12:11
Sunday, May 4th-
We launched this important series last weekend and are now counting down 30 days. 30 days is not a very long time. I think of how packed my week will be just this week and I know that these days will be gone before I know it. I will turn 34 this coming week. I always get pretty contemplative around my birthday. I like to take some time to thank God for what he has given me and all that he has allowed me to experience over the previous year. I look forward to that. Over the next 30 days I really want to put this verse into practice, "Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should." Psalm 90:12 (TLB)
I'm thankful for the team of people that God continues to place in our church and on our team. I also had a great time connecting with our small group last night. We are blessed with some great friends and we had a lot of fun just hanging out together. I will be blogging each of the next 30 days through the devotional and sharing what God is teaching me. I hope you'll comment and share what God is teaching you through this important series as we ask this vital question, "what would you do if you had one month to live?"