Thank You Lord

Scripture: He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the lord.  Proverbs 18:22 NIV

Observation: This proverb says it clearly. I can’t add to or take away from it.

Application: I must understand and appreciate the wife that God has given me. I sure don’t deserve her. One more evidence to me that God loves me unconditionally.

Prayer: Father,  thank you for giving me Laurie. Help me to be worthy of her. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

Merry CHRISTmas

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 NKJV

Doug

Be Job-like

Scripture: At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” Job 1:20&21 NIV

Observation: The wealthy, God-fearing, humble man Job just lost all of his possessions and family and yet he worships and praises God.

Application: Oh to be like Job instead of his wife, “His wife said to him, ‘Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!’” Job 2:9 NIV I want the humility and integrity of Job. That is my prayer.

Prayer: Father: help me to accept all of life’s circumstances, good and bad, and see how they are blessing in my life. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

Praise God

Scripture: 1 Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.
Psalm 150:1-6 NIV

Observation: When are we to praise God?

Application: We are to praise him at all times and in all circumstances.

Prayer: Father, thank you for today. Thank you for all of the opportunities that I will have to give you praise today. I thank you and give you all praise and glory and honor. Amen

Doug

For My Kids

This is for all of my children. Especially Andy on the eve of his marriage.

Scripture: A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.  Proverbs 12:4 NIV

Observation: King Solomon shares many truths through Proverbs 12.

Application: Andy & Heather, Rodney, Grace, and Ashley, as I read today I felt compelled to share with you how true I know this Proverb to be.  I lived my life in the past as I saw fit. I sought to please myself and my selfish desires.  I did not seek the Lord’s guidance in my personal life or my marriage. I was led by my lustful heart; my marriage failed.  I know that it was because of my sinful heart and that I never exhibited any spiritual leadership in my home that I failed. In many ways my ex-wife is like decay in my bones. She is a constant reminder to me of my failure to God, to her, and to my family.  Kids, I apologize for what I put all of you through because of my sinfulness and lack of leadership.  However, even though I know I don’t deserve it, God gave me another chance. He blessed me with Laurie.  She is a woman of God and she truly is like a crown for my head.
Andy, learn from my mistakes.  Don’t repeat them. Cherish the gift the God has given you in Heather. Remember how Tommy Nelson taught from the Song of Solomon that a man is to treat his ” ewe lamb” of a wife.  Adore her, encourage her, and she will grow in nobility before men.  Then she too, will be a crown that adorns your head like Laurie adorns mine.
Ashley, Rodney, Grace, all of you please remember to always treat the spouse that God gifts to you as something much more precious than yourselves. Do that to please the Lord and your marriages will be greatly blessed.

Prayer: Father, thank you for blessing me with a crown of honor that is Laurie. I pray for the same honor and blessing for my children.  I wish for them all to learn from the mistakes that Laurie and I made in our pasts.  I pray that they not repeat those mistakes and that their marriages are blessed and their spouses are crowns of honor for their heads. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

Pray to Honor God

Scripture: “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.  Matthew 6:5,6 NIV

Observation: Jesus instructs on the proper way to pray.

Application: This can present a bit of a quandary for some Christians, especially new or immature Christians. How do we speak with and honor God in all circumstances if we are to do it secretly?  Am I to pray over my food in front of coworkers or in restaurants?  Am I supposed to close these journal entries with prayer or would that be considered showiness by God?  What am I to do, pray publically or not?  I believe the answer is twofold. First, in these passages I believe that Jesus isn’t speaking of prayer in the context of praying over food. I believe that he isn’t speaking of prayers of thanksgiving and blessings.  I believe he is speaking of quiet time, time alone with God, time in our prayer closet, time of close, intimate conversation.  Thanksgiving and blessings, to be sure, are part of the conversations we have when we are alone with God but when we want to thank him for the provisions he has given and to ask him to bless them, that is different prayer.  Jesus warns us to be careful to have our private conversations with God in private and not make a show of them. Second, our prayers are a matter of heart. If we want to thank God for all that he had provided because we feel that honoring him before we partake of those provisions is important, then we must. If we influence those around us by our reverence for God by doing so then that’s a bonus for the Lord.  If we bow to pray to make coworkers or fellow diners look at us in awe, then we have been served and we have received the entirety of blessing that we are going to get.  We prayed for ourselves and our standing among men and not the Lord.  Public prayer is a matter of where our heart and intentions lie.  When public prayer is proper, we should pray and we should do it to honor God and him only.

Prayer: Father, I pray that when I pray I do it with the purest of motives. I wish to honor you when I pray in both private and public. I ask that you lead and guide me to do so for your sake. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

In the Image of God

Scripture: The Philistines asked, “What guilt offering should we send to him?” They replied, “Five gold tumors and five gold rats, according to the number of the Philistine rulers, because the same plague has struck both you and your rulers.       1 Samuel 6:4 NIV

Observation: The Philistines send the Ark of the Covenant back to Israel with a sacrifice.

Application: Because the Philistines had taken possession of the Ark after routing the Israelites they were struck with disease and pestilence.  Their priests told them the specific way to return the Ark. As the Philistines were sending the cart carrying the Ark on its way they were also to send a sacrifice of gold to appease the “god of Israel.”  “Five gold tumors and five gold rats, according to the number of the Philistine rulers, because the same plague has struck both you and your rulers.” 1 Samuel 6:4b NIV  Five gold tumors and rats “…because the same plague has struck both you and your rulers.” It appears that the Philistine priests advised the people to send gold representations of their diseases and of themselves to appease God.  I don’t know about you but if I worshipped a god that considered me like a rat I believe I’d find a new god.  Praise God that I do.  I worship the creator of all. I worship God who made man in his image, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”  Genesis 1:27 NIV

Prayer: Father, thank you for considering me worthy of being made in your image.  It seems to me that people who don’t know you and worship all manner of creation should be able to see the futility of that worship, especially, when viewed in the light of this passage of scripture.  Amen

Doug

The Only Prize Worth Winning!

Scripture: Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:19-27 NIV

Observation: This is an amazing piece of scripture.  It should scream to anyone who reads it!  There are two main ideas presented. 
 1) I must do whatever I can to win the hearts of those I meet for Christ.  I must be familiar and flexible with their circumstance so that they can hear the truth found in the gospel. “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” 1 Corinthians 9:22b NIV 2) There is a prize to be won, life eternal for those who come to know Christ!  For me the prize begins with the feeling that I serve a risen Savior who loves me and its finale is on the day he says to me face to face, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Matthew 25:21 NIV

Application: So where do I begin? I have been around as a Christian for a while.  I fall short, way short of serving the Lord to the best of my ability.  I need to get back to the basics.  I can find those by knowing Christ and the ministry he started, I call these “Jesus Habits.”  As I share them with you I reaffirm my commitment to utilizing the habits Christ has given me.

1) Know the Word – Most Christians agree that Jesus had the education common to most young Jewish men.  It was a Jewish tradition that young boys spent time studying, memorizing and discussing God’s Word.  They mainly studied the first five books of the Old Testament which are called the Pentateuch, (read Luke 2:39-52).  I must spend more time daily chewing on the Word.  Each and every time I faithfully open God’s Word, I receive new insight and understanding.

2) Know, understand and live a life based on the “fruit of the spirit.” – Jesus showed us through example a life using these attributes; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, (read Galatians 5:16-26).  A wonderful book that shares insight into these attributes is “A Woman’s Walk with God” by Elizabeth George.

3) Prayer and Fasting Jesus took time to meditate, fast and pray.  I must communicate with the Lord through prayer.  I must meditate upon the Word and I must wait in His presence for long periods of time if need be.  Fasting helps me to focus and as I sacrifice my Lord sees my commitment to deepening our relationship.

4) Being a Servant I must be prepared to put into action my gifts. I must be willing to serve my Savior wherever that may take me!  I must be as sensitive as Christ was to the needs of those around me.  I must put others before myself in order to provide an example of a life devoted to Christ so that  through my love they may hunger to experience a personal relationship with him. How far am I willing to go?  Well, Jesus went to the cross for me!

Prayer: Lord, forgive me for lacking I am capable of so much more!  I surrender myself to you and I start afresh knowing I have a lot of work ahead of me!  Lord refine me, mold me by your Word and allow your Holy Spirit to not only live in me but overflow from me to others! Lord I Love You!  I want the prize! I want to see you face to face and hear those precious words “Well Done.”  Amen

Laurie