Meditations In The Psalms

Several months ago, Cate and a friend of hers began a journey through the book of Psalms.  Everyday they would read a psalm and then they wrote down what it was that the Holy Spirit impressed upon them during that mornings reading.  Both of them kept a journal, but they also shared their thoughts with each other.

During this time there were many occasions where my wife would share with me or in our Sunday School class the things that the Lord was teaching her through the book of Psalms.  A common comment that she has made was how doing her devotions this way has made her time with the Lord come alive and so special.

I have enjoyed observing Cate in the mornings as she sits in bed praying, reading, meditating, and writing.  I have also enjoyed listening to her tell me from time to time the things that the Lord has taught her or how what she read on a specific morning was exactly what she needed.

Well, three weeks ago, I opened up my Bible to the book of Psalms and begun the same routine. However, it has been anything but routine!  Many of the psalms are already very familiar ones, but I have asked the Lord to help me not to read them with a presumed expectation of what I will “get out of it” that morning.  I have found myself reading each psalm twice and thoroughly enjoying it.  These songs of praise and prayer are truly a treasure chest of gems found in God’s Word.

In the weeks to come, from time to time, I will share some of my thoughts from the Book of Psalms.  If my wife will allow, I may even include her thoughts on occasion.  Please understand that these thoughts will not be thoroughly and theologically developed.  Rather, they will be first impressions as we seek to allow the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts.

Selah….

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“21 Tenets of Biblical Masculinity”

This is a simple and yet, thought provoking book based on the Word of God.  Pastor Jerry Ross of Blessed Hope Baptist Church in Jasonville, IN has done a tremendous job of studying the Scriptures and very practically laying out principles that every man who bears the name of Christ should be, not just familiar with, but immersed in as a way of life.

Covering topics such as; developing a strong work ethic, learning biblical leadership, seeking Godly counsel, engaging in excellent speech, defeating the sins of the youth, and many more….Pastor Ross has provided every parent, pastor, teacher, adult a treasure trove from which to draw upon when it comes to raising and mentoring the next generation.  There is nothing in this book that is new as every principle is based on sound biblical interpretation and application.  However, I fear that for far to long we have ignored these timeless truths given to us by God and we are now reaping the consequences.

Really, I could go on and on about this book, but the truth of the matter is that you need to read it for yourself.  I will be reading it again very soon and intend to create my own study guide to use in the future with my own sons and with other young man that I have the opportunity to work with.

If you are not familiar with Pastor Ross’s writings, I strongly urge you to visit http://www.stayinthecastle.com.  Here you will find several other books/booklets that will help you, your family, and your ministry.  I have a few other of his books and look forward to reading them as well.  If you have read this book, please leave me a comment and let me know what your thoughts were.

Until then, God bless!!

Waiting On God

And it shall come to pass, that before they call,
I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

(Isaiah 65:24)

The God that is with me on top of the mountains is the same God that is with me in the valleys.  He has promised He will never leave me nor forsake me.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever!!
Yesterday, at 7:45 in the morning, my wife assembled my children in the living room because we needed to pray.  We were facing a difficult situation, and quite honestly I was a little bit discouraged.  A few minutes before, I had told my wife that I did not want to take matters in to my own hand, but I wanted to see God “deliver us.”  She said that we shouldn’t take it into our own hands, but leave it with the Lord. So, the five of us gathered together to pray and we laid our burden at the feet of the Lord.
Thirty minutes later, my wife called me from the church academy to let me know that God had answered our prayer, and that it had been answered several hours before…..we just didn’t know it. Before calling me, she want to each one of our children and let them know what God had already done.  Speaking with our son, James, he said, “Really, that was fast.”  Cate then let him know that God had answered the prayer before Daddy had prayed. His eyes lit up with amazement, as he said, “Wow, really. That’s cool.”
How precious it was for my wife to have that moment with each of our kids and to show them that our God is a personal God who delights to work in the hearts of men and to answer their prayers.
I’m thankful that I did not take matters in to my own hand.  You see, if I would have done it my way, I wouldn’t have a testimony to share with others, and my children would have missed out on an opportunity to see God work in their own lives.  Let us not run ahead of God and miss out on what He’s doing.

I Remember The Day

I remember the day as if it were yesterday.  Twenty-five years ago in a small town located in Central Illinois at Elmwood Baptist Church, an Evangelist by the name of Jim Broom preached the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I, a 13 years old boy, went forward and asked the Lord Jesus Christ to be MY personal Saviour!!  Hallelujah, what a Saviour!!  He said, “YES!!”  With His own blood He washed away my sins and placed upon me, His own righteousness.

Tomorrow, with joy & thankfulness, I will remember that day.  My life was forever changed at that moment.  No, I have not been the perfect Christian in the last  2 ½ decades.  I have played the part of the prodigal son, I have wandered from the fold, I have left my first love, I have ran from God.  But when I knelt to pray, when I repented, when I confessed my waywardness, God, the gracious Heavenly Father, with opened arms welcomed me back into the fold.  He never gave up on me!! He’s so good to me!!

Beyond all that I could ever have asked or hoped for, God has blessed me.  Almost 13 years ago, he gave me a wonderful & godly completer, my wife, Cate.  Just over 10 years ago, he blessed us with our daughter, and He has given us two more sons since then.  I served as the pastor of a church in Nebraska, and I now serve Him in North Carolina.  My children have all been saved and baptized!!  Surely, my cup runneth over!!

Lord willing, if Jesus tarries, I look forward to celebrating my 50th “birthday” in another twenty-five years!

I REMEMBER THE DAY
WHEN THE LORD SAVED ME
ALL OF HEAVEN CAME DOWN
I WAS HAPPY AND FREE
GLORY FILLED MY SOUL
FOR I KNEW THE LORD HAD MADE ME WHOLE
I SHALL NEVER FORGET THE DAY WHEN THE LORD SAVED ME.


Elmwood Baptist Church


              

Clean Up This Mess

Do you remember when you were younger and you would walk past a mess in your house that you hadn’t made?  It wasn’t your responsibility, so you weren’t going to put forth the effort to clean it up. Finally, your mom would ask you to clean the mess.  When I was younger, such scenarios played out in my home from time to time and the following statement was often made by me or one of my siblings, “I didn’t make the mess, he did.”

I’m so glad that I am not a child anymore and that I no longer behave that way….Or, do I?

Have you ever found yourself playing this game when it comes to addressing a problem between you and someone else?

For example, your wife/husband has done something that upset you and the two of you just had a verbal WWIII. The war is over, the wounds are fresh, and the anger is still simmering. You are angry that he/she did what they did and now you are impatiently waiting on them to come and clean up the mess.  When all of a sudden, a “small still voice” begins speaking to you and nudging you towards making the first step. “But, Lord, I didn’t make this mess! She started it. It’s his fault. He needs to come to me and apologize! Why do I ALWAYS have to clean up the mess?”

In the greater scheme of things, such as God being glorified in your life, is it really that big of a deal?  The longer the problem festers, the greater opportunity the Devil has to continue to drive the two of you apart.  The longer you wait, the harder it gets to really deal with the issue.  The longer you wait, the easier it gets to forget about it and to continue in the “Crazy Cycle” that Dr. Eggerichs talks about in his book and at his blog, Love & Respect.

When there is sin in your life and your relationship with your Heavenly Father is not what it should be, whose fault is it?  YOURS.  Have you ever noticed that it is God, through the Holy Spirit, that comes to us to fix the problem and restore the relationship?  Adam & Eve where hiding in the garden…God was seeking them out.

Just as maturity and responsibility would say that you should clean up the mess on the floor, the same is true in your marriage and other relationships.