Pray Out Loud

Like you, I pray without ceasing.

All day long.

Not always super eloquent.

Nor even always formal.

It's a kind of running conversation.

Though, I must admit, I am never running.

(Although I should!)

Yet this morning, it hit me like a sledgehammer....

In a nice way.

God hears me when I pray.

As do angels.

Saints who have gone before me.

And demons.

All manner of unseen spirits and forces are listening in.

That is why it so impacted my prayer life today.

Not to merely whisper my prayer.

Certainly not to mumble them.

But to speak them loud and clear.

For God is listening.

As are many, many others.

Note: Even when we confess our fear or sin to the Lord, I am certain it is edited and censored in the hearing of others. :)

 

Burnt Toast

I love the ministry.

What a privilege it is to preach the Word of God.

Yet, like anything else, it has it's ups and downs.

Sometimes I preach and feel "up."

Many times I preach and feel "down."

I sit in front of the congregation completely exposed.

Well...

Not literally! :) 

Exposed emotionally and mentally and personally.

Maybe a case of "over-exposure."

That is why on Monday I GET to remember this:

My joy must be in the God of my salvation.

Not in the ministry.

Nor my sermon.

Not even in my beautiful family.

My only hope is God.

The story of Nadab and Abihu rings true. (Leviticus 10)

They were consumed with fire because they lit "strange incense."

When I get my "fire" from anything but the Spirit through Jesus...

Like those two priest's sons...

This P.K. will soon burn out.

My fire has to come from the God of my salvation.

Or else I am toast.

Make that burnt toast.

 

He Will Perform

Elisabeth proclaimed to young Mary:

"Blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance

of those things which were told her from the Lord."  Luke 1:45

Mary believed.

Therefore, the Lord "performed."

When we choose to believe the Lord...

Then He shall perform.

I am aware of my shortcomings.... 

My mistakes...

My sin.

And you might be aware of yours, as well.

But we can still choose to believe.

And our Lord will perform.

He will perform those things that He has told us in His Word.

I am deeply grateful that I am able to preach the Word of God.

Highly honored that I am able to minister in His Name.

Very relieved that my teenagers love Jesus Christ.

And excited for the future of my young twins.

Finally, my wife, Amanda, is a gem of a human being and a wife.

At this point in my life....

After ups and downs, victories and defeats....

I am now more convinced than I ever was before.

That those are only the results of one thing.

I have chosen to believe in the Lord.

And He has indeed performed.

I give my Lord a "Perfect 10" for His performance!

Dear Saint....

Choose to believe in your Lord.

And He will indeed...

Perform!

Jesus Gets The Credit

Tax collectors.

Fishermen.

Political zealots.

Those were Jesus' disciples.

They turned the world upside down.

For in spite of their best efforts while with Jesus....

They were saved and then used by the Grace of God.

So that it was the Lord who received all praise and adulation. 

Which means:

God will use us!

Have faith in Him.

I can't showcase my godliness.

Nor can I point to my holiness.

But I can talk about Jesus Christ.

For some reason, God has chosen to use me to do so.

You, too!

Not only that, but I can expect to be blessed this year.

For my faith is not in my faith.

And it certainly is not in my faithfulness.

My faith is in HIs faithfulness.

And that is why I expect this to be a prosperous year.

The older I get, the more I find...

That I am saved by grace.

Through faith.

And by "saved", I mean "am being saved."

And prospered.

Protected.

And empowered.

Therefore, as of today...

And going forward throughout eternity....

To God be the glory!

And Jesus gets all credit.

Your Name Is On The Tag

On this Christmas, I am thankful for....

My one year of zero hospital visits.

A "job" that I truly love to do at Applegate Fellowship.

A house in Jacksonville.

And last but very least, the Niner's new quarterback.

With the exception of that last one, all of those things are because of...

My parents who love me.

My pops who has been faithful in ministry.

My wife who stands by me.

And my daughters who have not embarrassed me.

(In fact, the very opposite)

All because of the Gift of Faith.

Jesus really is the Gift that keeps on giving.

Like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, I have been blessed.

I have my flaws.

But I also have faith.

So have faith, dear Christian.

Your name is on the tag!

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

 Not of works, lest any man should boast."  Ephesians 2:8-9.

Show Grace

Grace without Truth doesn't work well when raising teenagers.

Neither does Truth without Grace.

I need to raise them in Grace and Truth.

How?

I am still trying to figure that one out!

My kids will not respond well to my instruction.

Particularly as teenagers.

If that instruction has not first been well founded on love.

Only when they know I love them will they trust my instruction.

That is why Grace is so important.

For it is true of parenting, ministry, theology.

Wisdom is established on Grace.

It is through Grace that one is able to keep the Law.

And not vice versa.

So all of that is this:

When it comes to parenting...

Instructing....

Coaching...

Mentoring...

Or anything that requires leadership....

Show Grace.

That's my opinion and experience, anyway.

And the best part of all...

The New Testament declares it to be so.