Easter - 2018

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Devoted to Love!!!

A few years ago I read a book titled, "Crazy Love," by Francis Chan. He talks about how infinite God is and how Crazy in Love with us that God is. I encourage you to go to www.crazylovebook.com and watch the video on the Awe Factor of God. You will be amazed at how vast our God is and that He loves you. The same Jehovah God that created us, died for us. It is amazing to know without a doubt the love of God and then experience His vastness. All I can do is bow in reverence and worship.

Lets consider the worship truth, God is holy. A lot of people say that whatever you believe about God is fine, so long as you are sincere. But that is comparable to describing your friend in one instance as a three-hundred-pound sumo wrestler and in another instance your friend is a five-foot-two, ninety pound gymnast. No matter how sincere you are in your explanation, both descriptions of your friend simply cannot be true. There is only One God that created us, died for us, and redeemed us.

The preposterous part about our doing this comparison to God is that He already has revealed His name and identity. We don't get to decide who God is. Exodus 3:14 states, "God said to Moses, 'I am who I am'." A few chapters later, God tells God chosen people to be Holy because He is holy. We don't get to change these truths.

To say that God is holy is to say that He is set apart, distinct from us. Because He is set apart, we will never be able to fathom all that He is. To the Jews, saying something three times demonstrates its perfection, so to call God, "Holy, Holy, Holy" is to say that He is perfectly set apart, with nothing and no one to compare Him to. That is what is means to be "holy."

Many Spirit-filled authors have exhausted the thesaurus in order to describe God with the glory He deserves. His perfect holiness, by definition, assures us that our words can't contain Him. Personally, I am glad that I can and do worship a God that is beyond my ability to exaggerate! He is bigger than my feeble mind...His set apart from all my praises, yet chooses to dwell among the praises of His people...He is more powerful than any issue this world throws my direction.

I want to be devoted to love...not just to love the things I am devoted to, but to be a person that is devoted to loving God and others. You know I love ya...Don

Monday, August 26, 2013

What are you devoted to?

"They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." - Acts 2:42

What are you devoted to? It is a a good question? I know I am devoted to God. I am devoted to my wife. I am devoted to my children. I am also devoted to living and I fight anything that hinders living. I am devoted to not being sick. I am devoted to a great deal more than I am probably willing to admit. 

Can you imagine a life without devotion? No commitment, no follow-through, no grounding in what really matters. Maybe that’s how you live – losing your center in the face of compelling people and situations, not taking the time to reflect on what is important to you. You might be a person that is blown about by the wind.

So my question remains: What are you devoted to?

As I reflect on what it is to not be devoted, I discover that I love devotion. When you are devoted to something, your life is transformed. You begin orienting your activities toward what you really want. Doubt and confusion diminish, as you always have a benchmark to refer to. People and circumstances that no longer fit fall away. Devotion is not for sissies. It takes a surrender of your personal wants and desires into something that holds greater meaning for you. It oozes passion and longing. You might even say that you form a love affair with whatever you are devoted to. You show commitment, dedication, loyalty, reverence, and sincerity.

I recall a teaching many years ago that transformed my attitude towards devotion and being devoted. It was: "The next time you have breakfast and have bacon and eggs, you can know the difference between contributing and devotion. The Chicken contributed to your breakfast. The Pig was devoted to your breakfast." It is a truth that transforms my attitude and my action. I want to be one that is willing to give my life for that which I am devoted.

Join me in being totally devoted...I am devoted to God, to my wife, to my children, to God's Kingdom, and to living a transformational life...I want to be known that I am totally devoted to you as well. So, what are you devoted to?

 You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Does God take the Summer off?

Brad Whitt writes the following and I like it:
The writer of Hebrews tells us not to forsake “…the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25

At the beginning of my first summer as a pastor, Louise Vandergrift, the only senior adult in our tiny congregation in Tennessee brought me a little article that she had clipped out of a magazine decades before.  I never forgot the point of the article, so years later I called “Mrs. Louise” and asked her to fax it to me.  I share it today with the hope that it sticks in your heart and mind the same way that it has in mine over the past 17 years.

God Takes The Summer Off
“We are sorry to inform you that God will not be available during the summer beginning June 1st.  He feels He deserves some time off, so He has canceled His normal duties for the summer.

He has agreed to send the sun and rain occasionally when He happens to be in town, but so far as answering prayers for the needs of your family, please don’t count on Him.

God has let church leaders know that they should not plan any outreach efforts or mission trips during the summer—or at least if they do, they will have to do it without Him because He plans to be gone a lot to see relatives, baseball games and the lake.  God has expressed the opinion that we should find someone else to take His place.

Then we reminded Him of His promise, “Surely I will be with you always,” but He said He didn’t realize when He said it that it meant going two or three years without a break.  He expressed His sincere regret and hopes that it will not cause anyone any inconvenience.

God may be contacted anytime after September 1st at which time He hopes to get back into the routine.  “Please defer all requests until then,” He requested.

Aren’t you glad God doesn’t take the summer off?  As we approach summer, make it your determination to bring yourself and your family to God’s House on Sunday.  He’ll be waiting for us to worship Him.”

Thank you Brad for the reminder that Summer is a season of service to the Kingdom and a season to build each other up as a member of the greatest community in all of eternity. You know I love ya,  Don

Brad Whitt's Blog is: http://bradwhitt.com/

Monday, August 19, 2013

Taking responsibility is my job?

"Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood."

Acts 20:28 is a section of Paul's exhortation to the Ephesian elders and it is one of the most powerful in all the bible . . . .

God's elders are the guardians and watchmen of the doors of the church. It is also important to learn from this passage that if you are an elder or not...if you are a believer or not...God has paid a price for you and it is your responsibility to respond accordingly.  Paul says, in the next verse, that "fierce wolves" would come in, to disturb the flock.  So, what most one do?  They must first take heed to their own lives; and then to the congregations of Christ's church.  They must "be alert," (v. 31), awake, vigilant, diligent, and watchful.  The people of God are to pray for them, that their elders might faithfully discharge their duties.

All of us have plenty of reason to bless God, that He spares us from dangers about which we know nothing.  May He give us grace to be faithful in all things.

Puritan quote to ponder: "Men are by nature utterly careless of the glory of God.  They have no degree of concern for it.  A natural man never does any one thing out of true concern for the glory of God."   --Jonathan Edwards, in his sermon entitled, "It Is Well For Us That God Is Not As We Are"

 Responsibility is an amazing task...but it is also worth every effort!!!

You know I love ya, Don

Special thanks to Mark Henniger's blog: http://henningerdevotions.blogspot.com/2011/01/thurs-12011-devotion-acts-2028.html

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Just get a grip already!

Have you ever been told to "get a grip" or "get over it already"? I have. Sometimes it is just a matter of my attitude needing an adjustment. Other times, my stress is more than a simple fix. Sad thoughts and a sense of failure are one of Satan's strongest tools.  Ignatius labeled this a time of desolation. The bible reveals a terrific tool in defeating such times...it is to praise that Lord.

Praise is powerful! When Scottish pastor Robert Murray McCheyne was troubled with a coldness of heart toward the things of the Lord, he would sing the praises of God until he felt revived in his spirit. Those in his household were often able to tell what hour he awoke because he began the day with a psalm of praise.

One day, while he was trying to prepare his heart for preaching, he wrote in his journal: “Is it the desire of my heart to be made altogether holy? . . . Lord, You know all things . . . . I’ve felt so much deadness and grief that I cannot grieve for this deadness. Toward evening I revived. Got a calm spirit through [singing psalms] and prayer.” McCheyne had been uplifted by praising God.

Perhaps you feel as if you are mired in what John Bunyan called the “slough of despond.” Lift a song of praise to the Lord. The psalmist said, “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever” (89:1). When we do that, the praise will flow not only from our lips but also from our heart. The Lord delights to give “the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isa. 61:3).
Yes, “it is good to sing praises to our God”—at all times (Ps. 147:1).

Praising God for you....you know I love ya, Don

Monday, August 12, 2013

Happiness...to love another person is to see the face of God!

 Serving others is living the power of heavenly grace today. Dave Stone says that "service is the language of grace” and grace is the language for entrance into heaven.
One day a couple of church members were out distributing loaves of bread in a low-income housing complex. They came to an apartment where they heard arguing through the door, but they decided to knock anyway. A man opened the door and asked what they wanted. One of the visitors said, "We don't want anything. We just wondered if you know anyone who could use some loaves of bread?"

"Why are you doing that?" the man asked.

"Just to let people know that God loves them."

"What did you just say?" the man asked, rather anxiously.

"We're just handing out loaves of bread to let people know that God loves them."

The man stared and said, "I can't believe this. We just buried our three-week-old son yesterday, and now here you are at our door."

The visitors offered to pray with them, and the couple accepted their offer. As they were leaving, and the door was being closed, they heard the husband say to his wife, "See, honey? I told you God cares. We thought he wasn't paying attention to us, but he sent those people here to make sure we knew."

Too many people make excuses as to why they can't serve. Can you bake a cake? Can you cook some food item? Can you cut some one's grass? Can you call people and give them an encouraging word? Can you do housework? Can you do handy work? Can you donate anything of value? Can you stop along your way and give a smile? Can you invite someone to sit in church with you? Can you take an interest in someone's life?

The big thing is that you have to be ready to serve. You have to open your eyes and your ears to the needs of others. 1 Pet. 4:10 -- "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." It is in serving God and others that we truly receive the reward of heaven today.

Get out and serve...you know I love ya, Don

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The reward of dwelling with God today!

 One of my favorite missionary stories is of Henry C. Morrison. Mr. & Mrs. Morrison were faithful missionaries who served the Lord in Africa for over 40 years. He recalls that emotional day when he and his wife boarded a ship on their way back to the United States. His mind flooded with memories of the wonderful experiences they had enjoyed on the mission field.

He began wondering what it would be like to return to his Midwestern hometown. “Will anyone there still remember us?”

Aboard that same ship that day with Henry and his wife was the President of the United States, Teddy
Roosevelt. He was returning from a big game hunting trip in Africa. When the ship pulled into the New York harbor there were thousands of people there to greet the arriving President. The crowds were cheering and the bands were playing. There were signs, banners and billboards everywhere saying, “Welcome Home” .

Mr. Morrison and his wife with their luggage in hand quietly made their way to the deck of the ship
to exit. No one had come to welcome them back home. There were no bands playing or banners flying in their honor. Henry Morrison went to his hotel room with a rather heavy heart. As he sat there on the bed, he asked his wife, “Honey, for 40 years we poured our lives into ministry and service. And yet we come back to America and not a single soul comes to welcome us home!”

His wife came and sat down next to her husband. She put her hand on his shoulder, and said to him,
Henry, you have forgotten something, you’re not home yet!”

When we dwell with God in this life, we realize that we are not home yet. What great words those are! “We’re not home yet.” 1 Corinthians 3:16 states, Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst? As we suffering in this life, we can dwell with God and His spirit comforts us with the words that this is temporary...the best is yet to come. He reminds us that we are not home yet. We dwell with God today in knowing the best is yet to come....today is not about the here and now, but about the there and then.

You know I love ya, Don