Archive | Uncategorized RSS for this section

The Great Contradiction


This post is a reprint, if you will, of an email devotional that I receive from a dear brother in our faith.  I invite you to set aside a few moments to read this and think on these things.  Father, bless all who read this and accept the challenge to allow the Holy Spirit to identify the areas in our lives, one at a time, where we have and do call You LORD and yet do not obey.  We thank You for Your Grace and humbly ask in the name above all names, Jesus Christ our LORD and SAVIOR. Amen.
“He saw the sky open, and something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners. In the sheet were all sorts of animals, reptiles, and birds. ‘Then a voice said to him, ‘Get up Peter; kill and eat them.’…’Never Lord,’ Peter declared. ‘I have never in my life eaten anything forbidden by our Jewish laws.’ The voice spoke again, ‘If God says something is acceptable, don’t say it isn’t.’  The same vision was repeated three times. Then the sheet was pulled up again to heaven.” Acts 10:11-16
 
This account in Acts, which tells of Peter’s vision from God that sets the course for his going and ministering to and having fellowship with a non-Jew. Something strictly forbidden by Jewish law. It is much used by the Church as an illustration of our tendency to restrict just who we will love and reach out to. But in it is something more. Something usually missed by most of us who read the account.
 
I’ve a friend that calls this passage “the great contradiction.” Why? Because of two words spoken by Peter, and in the same address; “Never,” and “Lord.” Do you see it? In the same breath, Peter calls Him Lord, yet refuses to do what He commands. In his relationship with His God, what greater contradiction could there be?
Here’s a more penetrating question for each of us. To what degree are our lives and relationship with Him a great contradiction as well? In how many areas and ways do we call Him Lord, yet disregard, disobey, and even defy His will and direction for our lives? Where has He spoken His purpose to us, and we, for whatever reason or justification, told Him, “Never Lord?” Where are we doing so now?

I think we are most prone to this sin, and yes, it is sin, when Christ leads us to a place far outside our comfort zone. He requires of us something out of our ordinary experience. Something we were sure He never would. I have lost track of all the times I have heard believers say, “I don’t think the Lord would do that.” I’ve said it myself. Surely that mindset was upon Peter. The Jews had very strict dietary regulations and boundaries. He could not envision the Father ever taking him outside of them. Yet He did. Where are the self-made boundaries that we’ve set up in our lives that put a limit to just how deep our obedience to Him will go?
Where are we living “the great contradiction?”

 
Be assured of something. Jesus will call us on this contradiction. In His word He said, “Why do you call Me Lord, and yet do not do what I say?” It’s a piercing question against which none of our excuses, justifications, and rationalizations can stand. All the contradictions in our lives fall before that question. We may spend our lives running from it, but in the end, we will stand before Him and give account. There will be no lives of contradiction in heaven. That being the case, why do we insist on living them on earth?

Christ meets us where we are, and where we are is filled with contradictions. Growth in grace is a process of those contradictions being removed, one contradiction at a time. Do you welcome that? Or, do you go on living “the great contradiction?”

Blessings,
Pastor O

Published by permission.

Choose TRUST


“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?” – Psalms 56:3-4

When faced with uncertainty, fearful situations, or challenges today… In that moment we choose either to rely on our own abilities and strength OR we may choose HIM in whom all wisdom, provision, and grace IS certainly found.

Choose the best way, the only sure way found in Christ Jesus is to trust God first and then, armed by His provision and wisdom move forward bravely in confidence that HE alone is trustworthy! Blessings and peace for today.

~Robert

when things get in the way


“As they talked together, I thought about all the times our “dates” have gotten interrupted, or when the trees have gotten in the way, or when our plans have changed.  Most times it would leave me being frustrated- because my focus was always on ME- wanting to make MYSELF happy.” ~Julie Harris

Source: when things get in the way

How often are we guilty of missing a blessing by God?  We all get busy focused on our desires, goals, and plans.  How very often we find ourselves in a situation not so different, it might not be a stroll with our husband or wife, it might be at work or the store or anyone of a number of moments.  The same and yet different, different yes and yet the same in that we are interrupted for our intended course.

As Julie has pointed out, “…those things are really blessings in disguise – if only we know what to look for.”

We plan and yet God calls us to live in the moment.  To look to Him for what we need now.  Not only what we need, we are to see how He wants us to meet the needs of others.  Blessings come in so many different ways, are we looking?

Blessings and Peace, ~Robert

A GREATER PURPOSE


“Three times I begged the Lord to take it (His thorn in the flesh) away. Each time He said, ‘My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.’ ” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9….”Broken things in life find their greater purpose in His story of redemption.” Laura Story……”God takes broken pieces and makes them masterpieces.” James Robison
 
In the reading of Pauls words in 2 Corinthians 12, did you catch the fact that not only did Paul ask the Father to remove the terribly painful “thorn” in his life, but that after each request, God said the same thing. “My grace is sufficient for you.” Apparently Paul had a very difficult time accepting and believing this the first two times He spoke it. We do as well. We feel and experience the pain, the need, and it blinds us to the truth of His promise.

Laura Story, a singer and author of the book “When God Doesn’t Fix It,” tells the story of her 10 year walk with the Father through the brain tumor that afflicts her husband. This tumor has not only robbed him of the sight in one eye, it has also caused him many mental and emotional problems as well. Much prayer has gone up for his healing. Yet he is not healed. At least in the manner that most of us understand healing. We expect when we pray that the Lord will answer and fix everything. But as Story writes, what happens when He doesn’t? What happens when the thorn remains? What happens when He either doesn’t remove the problem, or remove us from the problem? What happens then? What are we left with then? If someone tells us that we are left with Him, all that is Him, and nothing else; no change, no healing, no deliverance, can we accept that? Is He really enough?

Story said that “He doesn’t have to ‘fix it’ in order to get us where He wants us to be.” Can we accept that? Are we really willing to walk a road with Him that leads us through places we don’t want to go or see? Are we willing to go to the place in His Life He calls us to be even when He allows all the mountains, giants, and needs to remain? Do we have a trust that goes that deep? Do we even want to?
 
When we think of the blessed life, our flesh is usually it’s definer. We’re comfortable, safe, provided for in all ways. Troubles come, but they don’t touch us because He makes them disappear before they can. This is the usual western/American church view of the blessed life. Story, in a song she entitles “Blessings,” sees this life not through eyes of flesh, but of His Spirit. She asks in song, “What if Your blessings come through raindrops, What if Your healing comes through tears, What if a 1000 sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?…….What if my greatest disappointment or the achings of this life is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy.” 

We are so rooted into this world and its ways that we can be staggered at the thought, the truth, that His ways with us have their end in eternity and not the here and now. Paul had a great desire to have that thorn, whatever it was, gone. He had an immeasurably greater desire to know Him in intimacy. If that meant that the thorn would be the Father’s path to that intimacy, He would go there. Willingly, joyfully, completely. That path will meet all who seek to be His entirely. It is human to cry out to Him for the removal of life’s painful thorns, but it is the truly God centered life that goes on with Him even if it’s not. Trusting, believing, knowing, that there is a greater glory to be had when we do. Who do we really want? God the Fixer, or the God of Glory?

Blessings,
Pastor O

Published by permission

Life’s Tools


“It’s funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools—friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty—and said ‘do the best you can with these, they will have to do’. And mostly, against all odds, they do.”
~Anne Lamott

Amen!

Resolutions…..


Do you make resolutions along with the majority of people throughout the world?  With them, do you find yourself failing to keep them?  How easy it is to make statements like, “I’m giving up, such and such or this or that”; I’m going to….. Fill in the blanks and regardless of your age, you’ll most likely find you’ve “committed” to at least one new resolution every year since you were ten years old, maybe earlier or later.  I’m right at the head of the line here and know that I’m in great company!

Why do we make statements, generally without actually planning to be successful?  Are we still allowing peer pressure to drive how we think and act?

Here’s a link to fifteen verses in God’s word concerning New Years Resolutions.  http://www.openbible.info/topics/new_years_resolutions

As you read through these verses consider a couple of things.  Not just at the beginning of a new year, but daily we should resolve to be completely available to our Father for His work.  We must plan and prepare to complete His work; at home, on the job, at church, in our neighborhood and wherever He leads.  Planning to be ready at all times and prepared by studying His word and by prayer and through fellowship with those who strengthen and encourage us.

I started another devotion which is only four days in length through YouVersion titled, “One Word That Will Change Your Life”.  The goal is that instead of “making a resolution” for this year, we seek God for a single word for the new year!  That this one word will through continued focus, become the point of our year.  Whatever the word He gives or you might choose… be it one of the fruits of the Spirit, consecration, discipline, character trait, etc. having a singular focus will change our lives.

Instead of the grandiose, simplify.  Dial back and ask God to help you select the one word to focus on for this year and allow Him to develop that in us.  This is my goal, my resolution and over the next day or so, I believe He will show me my word for the year.  I will share this with you and ask only that you help me stay accountable.

I wish you a very Happy New Year filled with HIS all.

Blessings & Peace Always,

~Robert

You Take My Breath Away


He literally took my breath away with His creation! He was so clearly working on me to worship Him in other ways.  There is so much more to worship than singing!”

via You Take My Breath Away.

Great observation about how God will show us the things that “creep in” to nudge HIM from the throne of our life!  I’m not saying here that Julie was taking her eyes off her Lord and Savior, not at all.  We do however, as Christians, allow our focus to drift.

God gifted Julie with a tremendous ability to worship Him through playing the piano, singing and writing, beautifully!  She enters into worship this way and there is nothing wrong with the process and certainly not the results.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” ~Philippians 1:6

In bringing us to be like Christ, I’ve started learning that HE will place times of testing in our life and for HIS very own reasons… Phil 1:6.

Whether music, service, giving our tithes, teaching, preaching, outreach, compassionate ministries, etc. All of these are right and He alone is worthy, yet they must remain ALL about HIM!!!

Such a blessing to see sensitivity to the Holy Spirit in council and correction applied.  I believe as we Journey With Christ, course corrections, both gentle and extreme, are God’s way of bringing our focus directly and firmly back to Himself.

I believe, starting with myself, we can take a special lesson to heart through what Julie has shared about this difficult time in her journey.  Julie, thank you for your continued transparency and allowing me to write as He leads my heart, mind and soul from what you share.

You Take My Breath Away”, may this be our prayer and goal today!  Yes LORD, please open my eyes to see!!!

Blessings & Peace Always,

~Robert

He Washed Me White as (Ivory) Snow


What a great observation on missing the details. Julie again helps us to see that desiring to be CLEAN is the point, appearing clean is worthless. Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” ~Matthew 23:27

Just like the fabric softener isn’t a cleaning agent, we can’t “fake it till we make it”. We must purpose to follow HIM, know HIM through HIS word and focus our life’s intent on HIM. Protecting our heart, mind and soul by paying attention to what we hear, say and see! Paul said, “Everything is permissible for me—but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me—but I will not be mastered by anything.” ~1 Corinthians 6:12 I should only seek to be around things that are drawing me to Christ always! If I’m not being drawn to HIM, I’m moving away from HIM.

It is our responsibility to yield to HIM and this is accomplished by HIS grace and through the power of the Holy Spirit, who gives counsel, guidance and peace. When we speak HIS words, when we seek HIS presence and when we hold HIM dearest of all things, HE blesses us in ways we could never have dreamed.

We have a choice and we must choose, HIS way or our own…. Let’s join Julie in her closing prayer; that HE will help us to “mind the ‘small print’ in HIS Word, to take time to pay attention to details, and to continue to see You in all things.” I’ll tell you this, HE will honor this prayer as you honor HIM through a life dedicated to honoring HIM daily.

Blessings & Peace Always,
~Robert

I Sing Because I'm Free

I am going to share something slightly embarrassing today… yes, folks, I have been a victim of “laundry bottle identity crisis”.  I cannot be the only one that has suffered from this condition, so I felt the need to come out of the closet…

One evening when my youngest was still a baby, I was carefully switching the laundry from the washer to the dryer.  As I  mindlessly took each article of clothing out, my dear, darling husband sweetly pointed out  that the bottle of laundry detergent I had been using for weeks was, in fact, not detergent at all- it was….. wait for it…. FABRIC SOFTENER!!!!  The horror!!!

I did not know what to do!  I mean, I thought wow, my clothes sure have been smelling good!!   And then I worried- what if it was just like spraying Febreeze on them?  What if I was just covering up…

View original post 306 more words

Larry Morrow – Our Loss, Heaven’s Gain


This entry is in Memory of Larry Morrow, husband, dad, brother, coach and friend.  This list could go on and I hope as you read this, you’ll get the point.

Larry passed from our presence yesterday at the age of 67.  We are left with the wonder of why so soon.  It is soon to us and a great shock, truthfully the full weight of his passing hasn’t yet sunk in as of this writing.  Even though he is lost to us, he is at the feet of our Lord and Savior.

While I can’t speak to all Larry accomplished in this life or what impact he had on all who knew him.  Please indulge me as I share my part of his life story….

My first meeting with Larry was in 1971, Garner Little League in Garland, Texas.  God brought us together through baseball.  As a coach, he saw an opportunity to teach me and develop some skills, just maybe….in a scrawny little 11-year-old.  I’m not sure exactly what drew him to choosing me for his team.  I do know that what followed is without question all about God’s plan.

During our first practice, this toddler of a Christian, informed Coach Morrow that he wouldn’t be at any practices or games on Wednesdays!  I told him, “I have church on Wednesday nights and I have to be there.”  He told me he understood and I remember he smiled at me too.  That was settled, I believed.  Years later, he told me what an impact that made on his life and how this one interaction was used by God to draw him back to church.

What follows are the highlights of our journey together for the next 8 years and what I learned along the way…

I played ball for Larry during the next two seasons.  He taught me how to play center field like a defensive coordinator, seeing the whole field.  He taught me how to look at the game as a chess match, working out the possibilities for each batter and play in advance.  How to come in to first base from center field without throwing the ball over the backstop, I seriously tried a couple of times….not pretty!  Under his instruction and extra effort, I learned to pitch a little.  Good enough to throw a no-hitter, I do remember him working really hard to convince me I could finish the game.  The only trouble was, I’d loaded the bases and managed to walk in three or four runs before he pulled me to save the win.  I had lost all confidence, however he never lost faith in me.  I can’t tell you what that meant and still means to me.

During those two years, Larry and his family started coming to my church.  over the next four years God really blessed our ministry together.  You see, Larry and I started working a church bus route together.  We’d go out on Saturday mornings, get the church bus and drive our route.  Knocking on doors, inviting all we met to visit our church and ride our bus.  When we started out, it seems like we would average 10 to 15.  By the time we stopped working that route together, we were making two trips every Sunday morning with passengers. We were averaging 120 riders.  I also, learned that swallowing gold-fish as a reward for reaching goals on the number of riders, wasn’t all that difficult.  It was after all my idea and I was as excited to swallow the tiny little fish as those watching were to witness the event.

Next, Larry gave me the opportunity to work for him in his landscaping business.  Work wasn’t the word for it, landscaping is HARD work and Larry knew how.  He also always knew how to get the best out of me.  Even years later after I’d grown up and had my own son, Larry and I had the opportunity to reconnect.  My folks had moved to Whitney, Texas and Larry and Nancy lived in the area as well.  Larry and I worked together and played golf and even had investments together in an investment club.

I’ve barely scratched the surface here on what we worked on and accomplished together, especially for God’s kingdom.  I hope you are able to sense that he had a hand in developing not just a ball player, he help in molding a young mind.  I will miss him and living in Virginia makes this all the more painful.

I am praying God will bring comfort and peace to Nancy and their children, Eric and Lisa.  They have children of their own and I know they will all be suffering this loss.  In the weeks ahead, I pray we will all share the fond memories and blessings of Larry Morrow in our life.  Please remember Larry’s family and friends during this time.  As heaven celebrates the arrival of another child within the gates, we will mourn the passing of a husband, father, brother and friend.  A coach and mentor to many, he was to me.

~Robert

The Boiling Point


The Boiling Point.  That extra degree, that extra step…. Julie Harris helps us to see that we ARE in fact called to that extra degree and step for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He’s taken the step for us and God has stated in His word, “For we are HIS workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which GOD prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 – ESV.  Make no mistake, we are called to take the extra step.  You can also be assured of this, HE will bless our obedience with peace and joy.

As you read Julie’s latest entry, ask HIM to guide you and lead you to submit freely to HIS work in your life.  The work we have only appears to be our own, in reality as HIS children, all the work belongs to HIM.

Blessings and Peace Always,

~Robert

Watchwords Blog

Strength and Inspiration for Christians engaging Today's World

THE RIVER WALK

Daily Thoughts and Meditations as we journey together with our Lord.

set your paths straight

Life stories sharing Christ's love and purpose in the lives of people.

Holy Soup

with Thom Schultz

Coffee with a Shot of Faith

A caffeinated Mom's thoughts on life, motherhood, and faith

Church Set Free

Love is the answer - now what's your question?

paulgrodell.com

because the stories we tell shape the world we leave behind

kenpriddy.com

Vitality to the Church - Growth to the Kingdom - Glory to God

Experiencing The Lover Of My Soul

Sharing On How To Hear God's Voice For Yourself And My Own Experiences With The Lover Of My Soul.

GODINTEREST - Christian magazine covering faith, culture and life

Godinterest is a place to talk about God, Culture, Life and all that other stuff

Mustard Seed Budget

FINANCES FOR YOUR MINISTRY

Arinuck ptl

Praising the Lord, the King of Kings, Jesus Christ! Having Joy!

ChristianBlessings

Receive God's blessing today with......... A CLICK A BLESSING TODAY

Mon Ange

A topnotch WordPress.com site

leaf and twig

where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry

Just me being curious

A blog of questions and few answers.

Especially Made

For my good and His glory

KennethJustice.com

The Periphrastic Mind Of A Liberal Arts Major

The Abuse Expose' with Secret Angel

A blog reaching out to victims of abuse and others in need, providing insight about abuse, hope for the future, and guidance to see THE LIGHT that lead Secret Angel out of the darkness of her own abusive situation and helped her to not only survive but to overcome.

wateringcanblog

"The Lord will always lead you, satisfy you in a parched land, and strengthen your bones. You will be like a watered garden and like a spring whose waters never run dry." Isaiah 58:11

Disciples Perspective

Join the Conversation. Prepare for the Confrontation.

Morning Story and Dilbert

Inspiring, Encouraging, Healthy / Why waste the best stories of the World, pour a cup of your favorite beverage and let your worries drift away…

There Is Grace

Where authentic faith meets a messy life

God'sCharacter

Sharing God's Character with the world

I Sing Because I'm Free

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

%d bloggers like this: