A Clogged Artery in the Body of Christ

Well, Father, Thursday, November 15th is the big day! I have put so much time, effort and especially prayer getting ready to take my school bus drivers test. I would covet the prayers of whoever reads my blog today, that I would have a clear recollection of everything I need to say and do and that Your peace that passes understanding would fill me through and through. Fill me and use me. Amen.

2 Timothy 3:5 (<<click here)

“…act religious…reject the power…”

As I have read and worked through the first part of this chapter, Lord, this particular verse has brought to my mind images of someone who was maliciously religious – someone who was manipulative and deceitful. And that may be the case many times. But there are other applications. Looking back over my own life, I see myself as guilty, too. I sit here and I am trying to rationalize my actions – trying to set myself apart. But in many ways, it is only a matter of degrees by which I can separate myself. I realize that there are those whose goal is to use religion as a means to power, wealth and control, including using You, Lord, only to achieve their agenda. But sin is sin, right?

I must admit that I struggle – we all struggle. I truly strive each and every day to seek Your face and to abide in Your will, Lord. But how many times have I attempted to accomplish that in my own strength…in essence, rejecting Your power. Living that way is failure – it is defeat. In and of myself I will fall. Only when I trust in You, only when I live in Your strength and power can I be victorious.

It comes to mind, too, that in my own “power” I block myself off from what You can do through me – I block other people’s views of You by standing in their line of sight. I guess I’m sort of like a clogged artery in the body of Christ. Your love can get through some but if I would let You clean me out, how much more of Your life-giving blood could get through to those who so desperately need it.

Lord, I am sorry that I try to live in my own power too often. I acknowledge that You are at work in my life and that in later years of my life I am submitting myself more and more to Your power. I see Your hand at work. Draw me closer to Your side so that I can be used by You to accomplish Your will, to touch people for You. Amen.

Dec 6th, 2016, Sun, 6:13 am

Love Your “Family”

Today…well at least this morning just seemed to take it out of me… Father, I am so appreciative of Your comforting presence. Thank You for holding me close and loving me in spite of it all.

 1 Timothy 5:1-2 <<click here)

Our families play crucial roles in all our lives. And if they are to have the greatest beneficial impact then they must be families that are bent on living out Your call on their lives, Lord.

In this passage, Paul calls upon Timothy to interact with people in his church as he would with his own family. Now when I think about this in my own life it is not difficult to do so. I grew up in a loving, supportive family. I still love and respect my mom and my dad and my sister. I would do anything within my power to help them and they would do the same for me. I feel the same way, as time has moved on, about my wife, my son and my niece. I have a loving and supportive family so it’s easy to parlay that wonderful blessing over to those in my churches.

But, Lord, I am well aware of the fact that not everyone shares this blessing. Sin has brought much hurt and pain into families across the globe. Many will forever carry scars of abuse for the rest of their lives, be it emotional or physical. And of course, it is a multi-faceted problem involving relationships with parent to child and child to parent, husbands to wives and siblings to siblings.

Lord, a simple prayer seems too little too late to address this issue which is so deep and so wide, but I lift it up anyway. For You care about every child and man and woman who would do anything to be truly loved. I pray for them, Lord, but enable me… give me the wisdom and the power and the courage to be Your hands and feet… to love others as You have loved me… as You have inspired my family to love me and how I have loved my family. Help me, help us all, Lord to love You with “all of our heart, soul, mind and strength” and in so doing to love our neighbor (…our family) as ourselves.

Sept 18th,  2015, Fri, 6:57 am

Go Ahead of Me

Father, I am so grateful for…You. A verse comes to mind quite often and I realize in context it is a part of Moses’ farewell speech to the Israelites but it is equally as applicable to me (to all of us) this day.

“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord Your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

And then, too, from Paul’s writings to the Ephesians,

“For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

We literally live in a war zone. Some days are relatively quiet and other days we are fighting for our lives. The evil of this world is out to take us down by whatever means it can… and as Paul says this evil is not human – humanity is but a tool used to accomplish its nefarious ends.

Looking about before this day’s journey, I do not know what it will hold. For me, the only sure thing of this day is that You, Lord, “will personally go ahead of” me. You “will neither fail… nor abandon” me. Help me to trust You. Help me feel the reality of Your love for me. Help me to be a reality of Your love in a world of hurt and dying people. Help me to reflect my Savior to a world who so desperately needs You.

Jan 29th, 2016, Fri, 6:47 am

A Mystery

All praise to You, today, Father for Your compassion and aid. Your hand was surely involved in getting me in for a desperately needed root canal this past week. It wasn’t fun but it is done!

Matthew 26:17-30 (<<click to read the passage)

So what do you call it? When we have our monthly observance of the Lord’s Supper, I put it in the bulletin as The Sacrament of Holy Communion. In my study Bible* notes it had this to say.

Each name we use for this sacrament brings out a different dimension to it. It is the Lord’s Supper because it commemorates the Passover meal Jesus ate with his disciples; it is the Eucharist (thanksgiving) because we thank God for Christ’s work for us; it is Communion because through it we commune with God and with other believers. As we eat the bread and drink the wine, we should be quietly reflective as we recall Jesus’ death and promises to come again, grateful for God’s wonderful gift to us, and joyful as we meet with Christ and the body of believers.

It is vital to believers everywhere to partake and remember. Some churches observe it quarterly or maybe once a month. Many partake of it each Sunday. It is so important! It links us to God. It connects us to each other. But there is a mystery in the midst of it all. How Christ accomplished what He did as symbolized in the act of observing Communion.

This is one area where, as a pastor, I struggle a bit. Over the years, I have observed this special time together many ways but for me, at least, I never feel like I do it justice. And honestly, I can’t really put my finger on it to be able to say why specifically. …and maybe that is the way it should be…

I am humbled every single time I stand in front of my congregations. How am I worthy to administer such a holy thing? After all, I am who I am, and that is far from perfect…far from holy…far from worthy. But once again the mystery is in the midst of it all.

In and of myself, I am not perfect or holy or worthy but, ah, in Christ – by he choosing to associate with me by my coming to him for forgiveness – I can be perfect and holy and, shockingly enough, worthy!

Lord Jesus, You are my all in all. You are the reason that I am. You are the reason I am who I am. You are the reason I am able to be who You want me to be. Work through me. Use me. I am an instrument in Your hands. Amen and amen!

*Life Application Study Bible New Living Translation

Nov 11th, 2018, Sun, 7:08 pm

Full Service

My dear Father, thank You for loving me the way You do – such patience, such compassion. I cherish our relationship. Enable me to protect it, to avoid pitfalls that would allow things to come between us. Everything else falls into place when I put You front and center in my life. Amen.

Matthew 4:23-25 (<<click the green)

When I was very young there was still a thing called full-service gas stations. Individuals would come out and fill up your gas tank for you. Many also checked your oil, cleaned your windows, and checked the air in your tires. As oil prices continued to rise in the 70’s these services quietly faded away. (Though there is a station not too far from home that will still fill your tank for you!)

Lord, when Your ministry began You hit the ground running as we say. You didn’t ease into it. These verses in Matthew state that right off the bat You “went throughout all Galilee, teaching…and preaching…and healing”. Everyone and everything was taken care of. Your service was from the heart and no one was excluded – Your own people, the Jews, and Gentiles alike. You touched the body, mind, and soul. You took every opportunity to serve.

Lord…do I do that? …not as much as I should. You gave of Yourself freely. I do sometimes…but I tend to hold back. I let personal feelings and prejudices factor in way too often. I am fearful to lay it all out – fearful of what people’s reactions might be if I clearly share my faith – fearful that my seemingly small reserves will be gone in seconds with nothing left for me.

Lord, I know that I am farther along than I used to be but, please help me to see more through Your eyes – to not miss those who need You and Your touch in their lives. May I love like You love, teach like You, preach like You and even heal like You.

Lord, full-service gas stations may be a thing of the past but a full-service God and Savior are most assuredly not –touch the world through me. Amen.

Oct 8th, 2017, Sun, 6:33 am

Doing it right for once.