Powerful Words

I often use “The Message” Bible translation in my blogs when I include a scripture. This week I decided to simply post chapter 19 from the book of Psalms. Read it slow, and let the proper weight of each word’s meaning sink in.

Psa 19:1  A David psalm. God’s glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.

Psa 19:2  Madame Day holds classes every morning, Professor Night lectures each evening.

Psa 19:3  Their words aren’t heard, their voices aren’t recorded,

Psa 19:4  But their silence fills the earth: unspoken truth is spoken everywhere. God makes a huge dome for the sun–a superdome!

Psa 19:5  The morning sun’s a new husband leaping from his honeymoon bed, The daybreaking sun an athlete racing to the tape.

Psa 19:6  That’s how God’s Word vaults across the skies from sunrise to sunset, Melting ice, scorching deserts, warming hearts to faith.

Psa 19:7  The revelation of GOD is whole and pulls our lives together. The signposts of GOD are clear and point out the right road.

Psa 19:8  The life-maps of GOD are right, showing the way to joy. The directions of GOD are plain and easy on the eyes.

Psa 19:9  GOD’s reputation is twenty-four-carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee. The decisions of GOD are accurate down to the nth degree.

Psa 19:10  God’s Word is better than a diamond, better than a diamond set between emeralds. You’ll like it better than strawberries in spring, better than red, ripe strawberries.

Psa 19:11  There’s more: God’s Word warns us of danger and directs us to hidden treasure.

Psa 19:12  Otherwise how will we find our way? Or know when we play the fool?

Psa 19:13  Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh! Keep me from stupid sins, from thinking I can take over your work; Then I can start this day sun-washed, scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.

Psa 19:14  These are the words in my mouth; these are what I chew on and pray. Accept them when I place them on the morning altar, O God, my Altar-Rock, God, Priest-of-My-Altar.

43 Years to Africa

I grew up in Carbondale Assembly of God church. I didn’t live there, but at times it felt like it, as we were there every time the doors were open, plus for many years my mother was the secretary. Our church seemed to produce a lot of pastors, evangelist, and missionaries. From time to time a missionary would speak at one of the services and talk about what they were doing in “Timbuktu”.

As I listened to these men I decided I never wanted to be a missionary, so at the age of ten I made a deal with God. I told God if he wanted I would be a pastor, or even an evangelist, but please don’t ever ask me to be a missionary, and for sure, never tell me to go to Africa. The way I saw it this was a great deal for God. He could pick either of the remaining two.

Let me tell you something about God you may not know, or have never realized; God is a gentleman. He never forces his way, never knocks the door down to barge in, but rather as is stated in Rev. 3:20 he stands at the door and knocks. So God has never asked me to be a missionary, and he has never told me to go to Africa.

When I was approached about being a team member on a serving trip to Ndola, Zambia I did what every good Christian does, I replied, “I’ll pray about it.”  The next day while in a local grocery store I was looking for some lunchmeat, I started crying. I started thinking about what someone in a village in Africa would have to do if they wanted lunchmeat made out of a chicken breast. In that moment my heart changed, I begin to have a burden for people in Africa, and not because they can’t run to the corner grocery store to buy lunchmeat, but rather for their souls, and in some cases the generational poverty they live with.


Ndola, Zambia – Africa

After getting home from the store that night, I got on my knees and asked, “God, can I go to Africa?” Later I imagined in the moment I asked God that question he laughed, and said, “What took you so long?” God is so good to us. He has a way of taking his desires for our lives and working them into our hearts, and then he sits back and waits for us to catch up to accomplishing his plan, for our lives, for our world. Later. I gotta
go pack!


What is Love?

032115_12Love, to me, is like riding a roller coaster.  When you first encounter a roller coaster you have never been on before you are filled with excitement, wonder, amazement, and even a little scared.  You agree to get on the ride, and the attendant helps you with the restraining device.  The ride starts moving and you get a half smile on your face simply because you really don’t know what you are in for, and then comes the first hill.

At the top of the first hill is the least scary moment of a ride, but seconds later you will be screaming your head off, hanging on to that restraining device as if your life depends on it, and in reality, it does.  There are twist and turns and ups and downs and tunnels of darkness, and even loops that can change your perspective, and it is about then you say to yourself, what was I thinking?  You ride, you hang on, you go through all that commotion and then you are back into the station.  The ride stops.  It is time to get off.  You stager to the exit, the contents in your stomach have been shaken, not stirred, and you certainly feel it, yet what do you proclaim out loud, “I want to ride it again!”

In a dating relationship one can certainly get off the ride, but there are some coasters you ride till death do you part.  Now that would make an interesting sign above the entrance to a coaster.  My kids and I love coasters.  There was one Saturday at Six Flags Great America the park wasn’t too busy and we rode 40 times on roller coasters.  The last coaster of the day we stayed on continuously for 16 times.  We, as humans, are addicted to love.  We like it, we want it, we crave it, and we need it.

The past couple of days I have listened to people on TV try to say what love is.  None of them, even the ones with “PHD” after their names even came close.  Real love is as described in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, and it takes this kind of love to stay in any relationship, from friends, to coworker, to family, and to spouse.  Let me list a few here:

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (NIV)

The real test to see if you are love is to replace the word “love” in the above section and insert your name.  You can certainly insert the name of Jesus in there, for we know He is love.  So if you are currently in any relationship let love be your restraint, and hang on.

Did You See What I Did There?

sunsetMy son absolutely hates it when I mention something early in our conversation and then bring it back into the conversation moments later, and say, “Did you see what I did there?”  I was sharing this with a coworker and in the span of our conversation he did it to me.  We both laughed enthusiastically.   I thought it was great and didn’t mind at all.

I recently got totally out of a long dating relationship which is always difficult for me, because I don’t usually have hope of being in another one, so I tend to stay in a bad one.  I know, pretty pathetic but true.  (In a later blog I will share my views of being in love, and what in our lives I compare that to.)  So after leaving this relationship and determined this time to never go back into it I was down.  Sad feelings set in.

Six days later I received an email from my section leader, where I attend church, and he invited me to go on a serving trip to Zambia.  In a matter of hours my mood, my outlook, my focus in life had totally changed.  It took me though a few days to realize this change in my attitude.  Once I did I was thanking God for bringing this opportunity to me.  There’s no time to think about another relationship, I’m going to Zambia.  I have never been to another continent before and I can’t wait to see what God is going to do through the small team of us going.  As I was talking to God the other day about all of this, and thanking Him for His mercy and goodness I sensed God say to me, “Did you see what I did there?”

Proof once again God does see me and you, love us, and cares so deeply about us.  He never wants to see you hurting, down, or even depressed, but instead wants to lead you into an abundant life. (John 10:10)  One of the best ways for God to do that is for you to be around His people instead of isolating yourself which can lead to further sinking into despair.  Never give away the Hope that He has provided to you through His son Jesus, and then watch for what He will do for you.