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January 23, 2019, 11:00 PM

Where are you looking to satisfy your soul apart from Christ?

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” John 6:35-40


Where are you looking to satisfy your soul apart from Christ? Is that pursuit leaving you with a full heart? The other night, I was studying for my Wednesday night youth lesson, and I was reading about man named Louis Pasteur and his medical discoveries and germ theories. In the midst of studying all this fancy medical stuff, I looked up thought to myself, "I think you have Prader-Willi syndrome." Just like that, I figure out exactly what’s wrong with me and used WebMD to self-diagnosis myself.


For those that don't know (which I would assume is many of you), people with Prader-Willi want to eat constantly because they never feel full. It pretty much fits me to a “T”.  If my career as a pastor doesn't pan out, my fall back plan centers on becoming a competitive eater.  I have no off switch. I can pretty much eat anyone under the table. I'm always hungry and never satisfied.


Jesus frequently spoke about a different type of hunger and thirst - a spiritual one. Satisfying our appetite with the things of this world leaves our belly growling for more. Nothing can quench our thirst or make those hunger pains disappear.  Throughout the Gospels, Jesus attempted to give His disciples, as well as the crowds that followed, a way to grasp who stood before them. Often, it came in the form of "I am..." statements. In today's passage, Jesus calls Himself "the bread of life." 


Bread, you say? Now, you've got my attention. A claim like that would also perk up the ears of the Jewish crowd.  He already had a captivated audience, having just pulled off a culinary miracle by feeding 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish. To them, bread wasn't a mere side item that came out with the salad and appetizers. It served as a food staple that people lived on, a part of their diet that sustained life. Bread also played a part in their faith journey. From the time they were young, they had heard the Exodus story about their forefathers wandering in the wilderness and God daily providing them with manna.


However, unlike the manna that satisfied the Israelites for a while, Jesus says those who look to Him will never be thirsty or hungry again. This goes deeper than a mere intellectual understanding of Jesus. We can't just nibble by recognizing the truth; we have to chow down by putting what we know into practice. Fulfillment requires real faith and action.  As we continue to trust, we continue to be fed. His Word provides nourishment for our soul. The cravings for purpose, meaning, security, and contentment will dissipate. We will be beyond full.


This is my prayer: Father God, Thank you for your constant provision in my life. Jesus help me to be satisfied in You. Lord teach my to fill myself up by digging into Your word and let that sustain my faith.  In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

February 4, 2018, 5:00 AM

What circumstances in your life have you been neglecting and why?

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:13-14


I despise cleaning dirty dishes. Scratch that. I can do a much better job capturing the disdain I have for this everyday household chore. Here goes: I abhor, detest, hate, loathe, look down my nose at, eschew and often reject doing the dishes. But, most of the time I get stuck with the dishes. I’d be lying though to say I do them every night. In fact, there have been times when I’ve let them slip for a few evenings. Life gets busy, my kids need my attention, or I’m just exhausted from a long day at work.


As a result, the plates begin to pile up. The leftover food becomes like plaster and requires a chisel to dislodge it from the plate. The longer I procrastinate, the more prominent (and stinkier) the problem becomes. Such is life. Let me ask: when you put off a crucial conversation, does the pressure subside? When you ignore a broken relationship, do you find yourself hoping to run into that person? When you leave the bills on your desk rather than pay them, does it make your debt disappear? When you ignore the “Honey Do” list, does your house suddenly look like it should be on HGTV? When you keep your struggles to yourself and off limits to God, does it reinvigorate your prayer life?


Nothing ever magically works itself out due to our procrastination. It only makes things worse. I recognize this isn’t an earth-shattering insight, but I tend to live my life ignoring this principle, and as a result, I come face-to-face with a great deal of regret. I suspect I’m not the only one. Tomorrow isn’t promised. All we have are the moments before us right now. So today, I want us to consider what we’ve been putting off and the damage our neglect has caused. But, I hope we all take it a step further and exchange passivity and procrastination for action and courage. What circumstances in your life have you been neglecting and why? What damage has your neglect caused? What is one step you can take today to address this issue?


This is my Prayer: Father God, rather than close my eyes and hope the issue disappears, today, let me respond with boldness and courage. Jesus may I address the things You’ve placed on my heart in a way that honors You and speaks to my trust in who You are. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

February 3, 2018, 5:00 AM

Regarding taking action and living out your faith, where do you find yourself hitting the snooze button?

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you;I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10


Studies have shown that 57% of Americans utilize the snooze button on a regular basis. Those numbers mean that on average we spend 3.5 months of our lives hitting the snooze button. We ignore the buzzer going off welcoming us to a new day. Instead, we tap the button, roll over, and convince ourselves that we will get out of bed eventually. Then there are those of us who can’t bare facing their current circumstances, so they just pull the covers above their head hoping it will magically go away. But, hitting the snooze button doesn’t change the reality of the world we want to escape or avoid.


Many of us live our lives, in essence, hitting the snooze button. All of those hopes and dreams we put off for another day. We’ll get around to finding our life’s purpose a little bit later. We pass off the responsibility for things like developing our prayer life, restoring a broken relationship, getting our finances in order or decluttering our closets to our future self. The problem with snooze buttons is that they provide us with the illusion of activity. Because we have the best intentions, and we think (and worry and obsess) about these things often, we fool ourselves into believing we are making some headway. Intentions aren’t the same thing as actions. It’s hard to take a step of faith or produce any movement when your feet haven’t even hit the floor. If we put off taking action long enough, we will eventually go back to sleep, and all of those hopes and dreams fizzle out.


Three things drive our procrastination. First, we want to put off the pain. Change is always scary, but that doesn’t mean transformation isn’t needed. Doing something new or taking a step of faith is uncomfortable and requires us to be stretched. Second, we want to prolong our pleasure and have our will be done. There are things we know we need to stop or let go of, but deep inside our hearts we enjoy them and want to continue what we’re doing so, we don’t act. There’s a reason why we find ourselves stuck and often remain there.  And, finally, we desire everything mapped out and planned to perfection. We need to know how things will turn out and every step along the path crystal clear before we jump into action. We don’t like to fail and the only way to avoid failing all together is by not trying in the first place.


All of us are becoming something. The question is whether we are doing it intentionally. So, how do we stop hitting the snooze button, take action and work on the person we want to become? If we’re going to change our behavior, it begins by changing what we see. An encounter starts with where we set our eyes. Are our eyes focused on our fears and failures? Can all we see are the obstacles, excuses, and things standing in our way? Or, are our eyes centered on the person we are becoming and the One who is with us every step of the way? What are you trying to avoid? Why are you trying to avoid it?


This is my Prayer: Father God, for far too long, I’ve been hitting the snooze button while You are calling me to act. Lord there are areas of my life I know need to be addressed. I’ve ignored the promptings to take action and have courage. Today, I say no longer will I settle for inactivity and letting fear win. Jesus may I get out of bed and face my circumstances with faith and boldness, knowing You are with me. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

December 24, 2017, 5:00 AM

Why are you reluctant to take action?

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. Proverbs 6:6-8

The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway. Proverbs 15:19


One of the most depressing sights during the holidays is your local mall on Christmas Eve. What you’ll see are scores of men walking aimlessly down the aisles looking for gifts for their significant other, family or friends. All the shelves will have been picked over, leaving only odds and ends to choose from. These guys were well intentioned, and many planned to go Christmas shopping earlier in December, but time got away from them. They procrastinated, hardly anything was left, and they paid for it in the end.


Procrastination leaves us grabbing for straws. What we end up with is simply a means to an end instead of a purposeful decision. We can very easily put matters of faith on the back burner and pass it off for another day. When it comes to taking a step of faith, displaying courage or dealing with difficult issues, we schedule those times for a favorite day of the week: Someday. But, that day never comes. Due to our procrastination we pay for it in the end. Crucial conversations are not had, dreams go unrealized, and opportunities are missed. Tales of God’s faithfulness never get told.


Tomorrow is never promised. Today is all we are given. Stop giving so much credit to your future self. It will be impossible for Future Jane and Future Jim to be those men and women who live boldly when your present self is shrinking back from their present-day responsibility. What you do today shapes who you are tomorrow. Rather than procrastinate, live with purpose. Upon reading this word, chances are good you instantly thought of something you’ve been putting off. Why are you reluctant to take action in this area (fear, pride, anger, doubt, etc.)? How will taking action in this situation help develop the character and integrity of your future self, along with allow you to take a step of faith?


This is my Prayer: Father God, there are places, situations, and experiences I try my hardest to avoid. But, no matter the effort I put into sweeping the situation under the rug, it doesn’t make it go away. Lord my procrastination is costing me more than I realize. Jesus You command me to have courage and to not let my fear, pride, or doubt get in the way of action. Today, may I act on the situations I’ve ignored for far too long. Let my words and actions honor You. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

December 14, 2017, 5:00 AM

So what does the size of the ocean tell me about God?

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. Ephesians 3:14-18


I haven’t taken a vacation in a couple of years and I’ve been doing a search on the internet at place to go.  The best vacation I’ve had was many years ago when my kids where little.  I took the family to Galveston to the ocean. I remember the complete awe and wonder they had with the ocean and it made me look at it differently. I looked up some amazing facts about it. Think about this: our oceans, seas, and bays hold 321 million cubic miles of water. That’s enough to fill about 325 quintillion gallon jugs of milk. (A quintillion is a 1 with 18 zeros, by the way.) Then God stocked the ocean with 1 million species of plants and animals. Well, those are the known species. Scientists say there could be up to 9 million species we haven’t even discovered yet.


So what does the size of the ocean tell me about God? Well, I might surmise that the Creator of something so grand must be beyond grand Himself. And if He placed something so vast in our midst, perhaps it’s to remind us that His love is infinitely wide, long, high and deep. In light of that big love, how can I dwell on the little things? But I do. I let my eyes fall to the worries of the day, and pettiness fills my heart. I don’t take time to contemplate God and His infinite love and care. I treat my heart like a mere machine, a functional instrument that pumps blood to the rest of my body. We are made to marvel at greatness. When we seek God’s great kingdom, we align our hearts not with our petty desires, but with the life we were made for: A life that glorifies Him.


This is my Prayer: Father God, thank you for making this beautiful world! Lord most days we go from A to B not noticing all of Your fingerprints. Yet You gave us beauty to give us hope. Jesus let us not take that for granted. Help us be grateful and inspired as we give You all the credit. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58   Entries 1-5 of 286