Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hearing Words of My Father's Love‏

image used under Creative Commons license,
photo from PublicDomainPictures on pixabay
Yesterday, our August devotional went up for sale on Amazon.  It's called Amethyst - Priestly Purple, subtitled Entering Heavenly Places.  We put a link at the end of the post.  In the meantime, let's think about what Todd Parsons has to say to us, today.

It's so very easy, in such a politically correct society as ours, to mix up roles, values, priorities.  Sometimes, piecing the right bits of information together can make the illogical seem to make sense. But God and His love don't work that way. And Todd shows us a clear contrast.


Monday, July 28, 2014

How to Succeed by Trying

The image is used under Creative Commons license, from en.wikipedia.org -- Pictured   is
Stephen C. Dunn, Deputy Comptroller for the US Navy, at the time this was taken.
When I was growing up, there was a musical comedy on broadway called "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying".  It was a big enough hit to be made into a smash musical movie, too.  But it's success came from going against the play's title.  We'll get to that.

In a book I'm reading that's a compilation of a variety of business writers, Steve Emery wrote a piece titled "How to Get Good".  In it, he mentions Ed Penhoet, who founded the company that conquered such medical breakthroughs as sequencing the HIV genome.  Mr Penhoet likes fortune cookie sayings. In particular, one that reads, "Whatever you are, be a good one.".  I think I've gotten that one a few times.  But there was a difference in how I responded.  And that gets to what we want to look at, today.

Friday, July 25, 2014

End Times Redux

image used under Creative Commons license, photo by Billy Gast on Flickr
Last week, in "Preparing Us for the End or Drowning Us in Lies?", we talked about the End Times and why we could recognize being close, but never that it had come for sure.  Remember our keynote passage?  It was Mark 13:31-33 (KJV), which said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.  But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.  Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.".  But we never touched  on why that was true.  There's more.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The One, Timeless Voice Still Speaks [Video]

image used under Creative Commons 
license, courtesy of Wikipedia
Last Sunday, our head pastor was in Finland.  And our Missions Director was on his way to Africa.  In some churches, that'd leave one of the deacons.  Not where I attend. There are still many staff pastors with lots of content in their soul.  Sunday morning, our head youth pastor, John Love, preached both AM services.  

Besides being in charge of our youth department, Pastor Love hosts our radio program, The Grace Hour, on a number of radio stations and at http://gracehour.org, Mon-Fri, 1PM ET. Also worth checking out.

This is our 9AM service.  I haven't had a chance to view the 11AM sermon, but I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Motivation

image used under Creative Commons license, photo by Artotem on Flickr
"Men are alike in their promises.  It is only in their deeds that they differ.  The difference in their deeds is simple: people of character do what is right regardless of the situation." -- Moliere

That quote comes from the July 17 reading in the Maxwell Daily Reader. Our first mental leap is toward picturing a politician or shady businessman. While the quote speaks of people with character, we mentally reach for the contrasting behavior.  Perhaps that's because so much of the news highlights political leaders with their own agendas, sometimes combined with outright incompetence.  And businesses that place profit above the well being of their customers.  The sad part is that I could have written what I just did, either fifteen years ago or fifteen years from now, with the very same shift in focus.  And we'd equally miss the point.  Let's add another quote to that and we begin to see the reality

Friday, July 18, 2014

Preparing Us for the End or Drowning Us in Lies?

image used under Creative Commons license, the photo was
part of an article by Amy Jussel on shapingyouth.org
The public recently got in an uproar over Facebook experimenting with what some of us saw in our stream.  The experiment dealt with how emotions and attitudes changed, depending on what was displayed.  

The "big deal" was that people weren't warned it was going to happen.  But they don't realize that the response would change with the knowledge that their content was being manipulated.  To cover that, similar experiments have had people sign waivers agreeing to be part of an experiment, without stating what the experiment would be.

As a result of allowing that experiment, Facebook lost credibility.  But we ignore a very important reality.  This has been happening in our regular daily intake for some time.  Which has some ominous undertones.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Weak, Stronger, and Strongest‏

image used under Creative Commons license, photo by Capture Queen on Flickr
We all have things that frighten us, that we're uncomfortable with.  And we all find our own ways of "hiding" from them.  We'll put something between ourselves and what causes our discomfort.  What that is depends on who or what we trust.  In Monday's post we talked about loving God.  The fact is that love depends on that same trust.  And we can never reach that kind of selfless lovee without help.  Today, Todd Parsons looks at a similar principle of God being the source of selfless courage.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Loving God!

image used under Creative Commons license,photo by Paul Walsh on Flickr
The July "writing challenge" for the Google+ Christian Bloggers community is "about what it means to fall in love with Jesus and how that plays out in your everyday life!".  If we dig deep enough, we quickly discover that's not something we can do on our own.

1 John 4:19 (KJV)  We love him, because he first loved us.

Thanks to our spiritual genetics getting botched up by Adam and Eve making wrong choices, we need some help in getting to the same place the youth camp worshippers are at in our illustration.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Onyx - Dark and Light Devotional Excerpt

The storm cover image is used under Creative Commons license,
courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org, photo supplied by Albert Herring.
 The picture is “Stormy Skies in Glacier” by David Restivo, and
was taken in Glacier National Park, Montana.
July's devotional book is Onyx - Dark and Light. As you can see by our illustration, there isn't much light in a normal night sky, without the aid of an external light source.  Which is where God comes in. He's omnipresent and He dwells in the darkness of our trials.  So, He's there to shed light and lighten our burdens.

It's easy to focus on our trials, even to a point where they become our total mindset, crowding God out of our thoughts.  Which is exactly what the devil would want.  If our attention can be taken away from God's presence, Satan can work on convincing us that God doesn't care and won't or can't give us safe passage through our moments of darkness.  Here's a thought from our latest devotional:


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

7 Good Reasons To Stop Looking at Porn Right Now

image used under Creative Commons license,photo by William James on Flickr
We tend to focus more on God than sin.  But there are times when it's good to change that.  On June 25th, Tim Challies wrote a blog post called "7 Good Reasons To Stop Looking at Porn Right Now" on his blog site, challies.com .  We're reposting here, with permission.  All rights to his material in this post remain with Tim Challies.

For those who aren't familiar with Tim Challies, he's a well known Reformed pastor, Christian writer, Christian blogger, with a strong social media presence.

Sin, such as pornography, can make us like that car from 1920 -- broken and not going anywhere. While I think a couple of points were stated more strongly than I might have, the whole piece deserves our attention. Here's what Tim Challies said:

Monday, July 7, 2014

How Much of Each?

image used under Creative Commons license,photo by J H Andersen on Flickr
As has been the case with a few posts, lately, this one comes out of a few recent experiences.  And the insights they generated.

What's interesting, to me at least,  is that it all seems to come down to a measure and a verse.

Galatians 5:9 (KJV)  A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Impossible Change

The image is used under Creative Commons license,
from en.wikipedia.org, photo by Dainan Kaplan
It's Independence Day, here in the US.  Depending where you are in the country, it celebrates the transition from rule by England or Spain.  And, if I left that statement there, it wouldn't mean much.  We'd be looking at a land mass with a leaderless people.  Not much to celebrate with fireworks, parades and barbecues.

That's part of a thought process that made last Friday a banner day for me.  I got some important things done, earlier in the day.  Then I went early to our church for the last full day of our convention.  I was hoping to catch a few folks I still hadn't caught up with, for some fellowship.  What I got next was an impromptu discussion with my pastor and a group of our pastors from around the world.  My pastor started with a question for all of us.  What does "It is finished." mean to us.  My thoughts on it are the basis for today's post.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

This is the Gospel [Video]

image used under Creative Commons 
license, courtesy of Wikipedia
We have another video from Melanie Baker-Nash.  If you've been around here long enough, you know that a number of our posts are as evangelical as they are discipling in nature.  But I think this is the first video that's been evangelical rather than teaching.

Mel speaks from her heart about why she's Christian, why she shares that faith with others, and why it's important that you listen so you can make your own decision.  Since there are eternal consequences, at least watch the video and decide for yourself

Mel and the video are right after the break.