Saturday, October 29, 2016

John Wayne & the Good Guys

The Man and I watched way too much TV last Sunday afternoon and evening. We began with John Wayne's Island in the Sky, when it was over we moved on to The High and the Mighty and as if that was not enough TV, we watched 2 parts of Lonesome Dove. I am not sure if we felt nostalgic or wanted to escape from all the bad news and political drama. We watched all this on a digital TV device - No Commercials!!!

There is something wonderful about John Wayne movies, he might die in a few of them, but the good guys always win. Sometimes, I think we want God to show up like John Wayne with guns blazing and take care of the "bad guys", we do not want to wait patiently, we do not care about His timing. Do it now God is our attitude.

Obviously, on occasion, we need an instant answer to prayer. But we do not need it in every instance nor should we expect it. My friend Norma used to say God answers all prayers with yes, no, or wait. I don't think we like no or wait. We want yes and fast just like the line at a drive through restaurant.

Andrew Murray had wonderful thoughts on prayer, two of my favorites are below:

“Each time, before you intercede, be quiet first, and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, and how He delights to hear the prayers of His redeemed people. Think of your place and privilege in Christ, and expect great things!”

“God cannot hear the prayers on our lips often because the desires of our heart after the world cry out to Him much more strongly and loudly than t our desires for Him.”

We must look at our desires and motives as we pray. Do our desires line up with the Word of God?

Sure, we pray throughout the day as we drive, work, wait in the carpool line. But it is ideal if we have a quiet period of time and pray intentionally. We are busy, it can be hard to make time, but it is vital we do make the time. Jesus was busy, yet He withdrew to quiet (solitary) places to pray.

One of the disciples asked Him how to pray. Jesus answered the question very specifically. I end with His instructions and example of prayer from Matthew 6 in the ESV:

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Judging Others

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, "Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are."

It is easy to judge and not take a good look at ourselves. It is easy to think well, she____________________ , he________________, or at least I did not_________________. At least I did not fill in the blank was a favorite thing to fling at my parents when I was in trouble as a teen. Seriously, I was not as bad as my cousin, their friend's child, or some teen on the news. As if ever uttering those words helped my situation!

I think as a busy adult, it can be hard to take the time to measure where our heart is, where we are compromising according to God's Word, how we are sinning. And though confessing our sin to the Lord and repenting of our sin is not only crucial to our Christian walk, it brings immediately healing to us. And face it, maybe we don't want to examine our hearts because we do not want to examine what lurks there. After all, if we confront it head on, we might have to make uncomfortable changes in our lives.

John Wesley put it this way, “We should be rigorous in judging ourselves and gracious in judging others.” Easy to say, hard to do.

Somewhere between the feel-good, prosperity themed sermons of many mega church pastors and you are a worm messages of legalistic, Pharisaic pastors is the Truth. We must seek truth and put it into action in our lives.

Jesus warns us judge not lest ye be judged (I still remember it in King James English from my childhood.) In context (and in the ESV) He said,

"For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?"

So as we go about our day, our week, our life...let us extend love, compassion, kindness, and thank the Lord for the love, compassion, and kindness He extends to us.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Corrupt Talk

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Eph 4:29

Christians in America would be wise to put Paul's words into action at all times, but especially now! I have never seen so much hatred and malice over politics. Many people refuse to disagree with one another and move on, instead they insult each other and insult the candidates. Nothing wrong with saying I don't agree with Mr. or Mrs. Doe's politics, but many don't leave it with that, many people start firing off curse words, casting stones, and political zingers. Much of the conversation is R rated. Eph 5:4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

Stand your ground in a godly way. Confess and repent, turn away from all the negativity, criticism, and judgment. Turn off the TV set. Don't tweet or post every salacious detail you see on the Internet. PRAY

God will not be surprised by the election results. Someone will win. Someone will be inaugurated. I recommend praying for both candidates because as in important as this is, their spiritual lives - their eternal lives are more important.

We don't need to go back to our past to be great again. The Hebrews murmured and complained after they left Egypt, they wanted to go back - How did that work out for them? Lot's wife looked back - Need I say more.

Look to God, look to the future. Being great as a nation can happen once more, but it does not have to look exactly like it did in 1945.

So brothers and sisters in the words of Paul:

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.

We need to love one another, stand on God's Word and promises, and PRAY.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


Has this election cycle made you tired? It has exhausted me. God will not be surprised by the election results, so we should not stress, He is in control. I quit watching TV several weeks ago to avoid political ads. I quit watching the news to avoid political stories. I check the networks' and local news stations' websites, I read the stories I want to read and skip the rest. When I want to watch TV, I watch movies and TV show via my Fire TV device from Amazon. Few to no commercials none of which are approved by Donald or Hillary.

Not to wish away time, but come on November 9th! I realize a large number of people are going to be irate after the election no matter who wins, hopefully, they will not be as mad and offended as they are today.

I pray for both candidates. I pray they are safe, their health is good, they know Jesus as Lord and Savior, they know the Bible is God's Word and it is alive and active, sharper than a double-edged sword. I pray they will make decisions which are righteous in God's eyes and they know one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Jesus is Lord.

The president cannot save us, Congress and Senate cannot save us...only the risen Son of God - Jesus can save us. Put your trust in Him. Let the words from Psalm 62 wash over you and refresh you:

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.

Friday, October 7, 2016


This week the news has been filled with stories pertaining to Hurricane Matthew which is a very strong hurricane. I live in an area which experiences the occasional hurricane, our last one was a Category 4 and made landfall just over 8 years ago. I understand what the people in the path of the storm do before, during, and after.

When a hurricane is predicted to make landfall in our area, most of us make preparations. We board up windows, move birdbaths and lawn furniture to the garage so they will not become projectiles, buy bottled water, non-perishable food, batteries, and fill our bathtubs with water (so we can flush toilets). We fill our cars' gas tanks, go to the bank and withdraw some cash because we might be without electricity for a day or 6 weeks. Filling the tub with water is the last thing I do. My husband says it is not real until I fill the bathtub.

After the last hurricane, we were thankful we had no major damage and were amazed by the quiet because there were no air conditioners running (no electricity and generators were not running...yet), no trains because the tracks were covered with debris. Hurricanes are loud. So the quiet afterward is almost too much to absorb. We embraced our neighbors before and after the storm and were so thankful to see everyone had only minor damage. Houses 5 miles away were flattened. You just never know what will happen with a hurricane and you try to prepare for all possibilities.

We need to approach our spiritual lives with the same care and a plan. The Bible tells us to put on our armor, it does not say you might need a weapon every 8 years. In Ephesians 6, Pauls tells us:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

We prepare for the storms of life with prayer and time in the Word. We need to keep our eyes on our Lord Jesus and eternity, heavenly treasures not earthly treasures, or politics, or reality TV which is anything but real. If we have time to peruse catalogs and veg out for hours in front of the Tube we have time to read the Bible and to pray. We need to prioritize and make a few changes to our schedules.

Sometimes our schedule gets out of balance due to circumstances beyond our control, we become accustomed to it and get in a rut which keeps them unbalanced. Take an honest look at how you can tweak your schedule to spend more time with the Lord.

You never know when the Lord will call you like He did Esther for such a time as this...