Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Truth Will Set You Free

Verse 1:
     F                             G
O God, You are my God 
Early will I seek You
My soul thirsts for you

Verse 2:
    F                             G
O God, You are my God 
My flesh longs for you
In a dry and thirsty land

Chorus 1:
Am                 F        C
Where there is no water
    Am       F                 C
So I have looked for you
In the sanctuary
      F              G
To see your power 
And your Glory

Chorus 2:
          Am        F               C
Then we will know the truth
                Am           F         C   
And the truth will set us free
In the sanctuary
      F              G
To see your power 
And your Glory

                         Bdim/F  Bdim/D      Bdim/B   Am   G
Because your loving     kindness is better      than  life
                       Bdim/F  Bdim/D      Bdim/B   Am   G
Because your loving     kindness is better      than  life
               Bdim/F  Bdim/D      Bdim/B   Am   G
Because your loving     kindness is better      than  life

Chorus 2:
          Am        F               C
Then we will know the truth
                Am           F         C   
And the truth will set us free
In the sanctuary
      F              G
To see your power 
And your Glory

Psalm 63:1, John 8:32

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Never discount the power of Christ

We should never discount the power of Jesus Christ.
The disciples had already witnessed first hand the many miracles that Jesus had performed on people.
But when they were out at sea, 

Without warning a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat.
But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, 

"Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"
He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?"
Then he got up and rebuked the winds and waves and it was completely calm.
-Matthew 8:24

We often find ourselves in stormy weather either physically or emotionally where we feel God can't or won't work.
But when we truly understand who God is, we realize that he controls both the storms of nature and the storms of the troubled heart. Jesus' power that calmed this storm can also help us deal with every problem we face. Jesus is ready and willing to help us if we only ask him! We should never discount his power even in terrible trials.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cash only

Today I had two places to visit on my way to work. I bring in cookies and donuts for the employees and I needed to fill up my car. I got all the way to the Giant Eagle grocery store and realized while I was pulling in that I didn't have my wallet. I retraced my steps and realized I had accidentally left my wallet on my dresser. The usual feeling of panic, then frustration, then anger quickly ensued. Then as I was heading back home to grab my wallet I remembered putting $60 in my back pocket the day before. Thank God I always wear the same jeans multiple days in a row! So I quickly turned back around and headed back to the store!

Two thankful points: Thank God I realized I didn't have my wallet before I got all the way to the checkout! And Thank God I wasn't all the way back home before realizing I had a wad of cash in my back pocket. God had other plans for me this morning.

Then I thought, "Oh man I can't use the self checkout aisle because you need your Giant Eagle advantage card to use that automated check out machine thingy...I'm going to have to go to the aisle with an actual person!"

So I went into the aisle and had a nice conversation with a partially disabled young man named Carl working the register. I seemed to make his morning by being nice and thankful. I even made him laugh and then thankful he didn't have to bag my groceries because I had my own bag and bagged the cookies & donuts myself.  The total came to $19.80. So I used my first $20.

Then I thought, "Huh, that's interesting, cash forced me to interact with another person and not just a machine." So I headed over to the in-store Star Bucks to get peppermint mocha latte's for the wonderful front office ladies at work and of course my beautiful wife. And then had another pleasant cash exchange with a Barista named Josh. The total came to $19.90 and I used my second $20.

After that I headed to the gas station and pulled up to the pump and since I only had cash I had to go prepay at the tiny pay hut in the middle of the gas station.  I went up to the window and had another great conversation that seemed to wake Charles's up! So I pre-paid $20 of gas with my last $20. And as I was walking away I thought, "Yikes, that must get pretty lonely in there just sitting out your shift."

Its interesting to see how God works in your life if you pay attention. I realized I had no money, then all of sudden I had $60 cash in my back pocket. Its always so subtle. There were two paths I could have taken this morning. I could have stayed upset that I was so forgetful and annoyed that I had to deal with all these people now. But God taught me a lesson this morning. The convenience of credit cards is great, but be careful how you might be selfishly going through the motions for your own quick conveniences. There are a lot of nice lonely people out there waiting to wait on you and give you your change and connect with you even for a quick second. I feel like I was more connected to the community. Albeit in a very small way, but an important way. Consider doing some of your transactions in cash. It forces you to slow down and interact with people. Are you really in that much of a rush? Is your life really that busy that you can't stop and converse with people and maybe change their day for the better?

What are some other places other than the self checkout at the grocery store or the gas station in which you could converse with people other than machines?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What kind of good and merciful action can you take today?

"So in everything, Do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." -Jesus, Matthew 7:12

The Golden Rule.

But notice how Jesus makes it more significant by saying it positively.
This is a subtle but important distinction from the way many other religions and philosophers have stated it.
They state it negatively:
"Don't do to others what you don't want done to you." or some variation of this,
"Don't harm others if you don't want harm done to you"

Its not very hard to refrain from not harming others.
It is much more difficult to take the initiative in doing something good for them.

Jesus stated it as such and this serves as the foundation of active goodness and mercy.
This is the kind of love God shows us every day. 

How to know God

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find,
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks;
the door will be opened."
-Jesus, Matthew 7:7-8

Knowing God takes faith, focus, and follow-through.
When you accept Christ into your heart and begin to follow him.
He shows you a spiritual path. And our lives are like spiritual marathons.
Its important to realize its not about living by rules and doing good things to earn God's approval.
Its about being honest with yourself and realizing you can't do it on your own. Realizing this and asking for forgiveness and accepting God's undeserved kindness towards you.
He then enters your heart and then it becomes about walking a spiritual path with the Holy Spirit/Jesus/God in our hearts. And becoming aware of when we wander away and get lost from this spiritual marathon.
So don't give up and quit the race early, finish the marathon, fight the good fight. Walk and grow spiritually with him in your heart. Sacrifice yourself daily to him. Run in his name.
You will be tested, you will fall down, you will sprain muscles and hurt your ankles, run out of breath and will to go on. You will suffer in this life. But God sometimes allows this because he wants to strengthen your soul, your character, to draw you closer to him. Don't make the mistake of thinking he's doing things to you because he doesn't like you and you are being punished and thus run away from God.
Make God the #1 most important priority in your life, He is more important than your spouse, your kids, money, fame, happiness, more than everything. So whatever you do in this life whatever your dreams are do it to glorify him. All for him. Put him at the center of your life and keep him there.
Consult him constantly with decisions and choices you have to make.
He calls us to consistently pray and ask for more knowledge, patience, wisdom, love, and understanding. You can say a prayer in your head and no one will even know you are praying. Don't be public about it.
Pray to him for help, whatever help you need for yourself to begin and continue on this path of glorifying God in everything you say and do in this life.

  • If you are a liar, pray/ask for God to make you honest.
  • If you think you're in control everything you have is a result of your efforts and intelligence, pray/ask for God to make you humble before him.
  • If you are selfish, pray/ask for God to make you selfless.

How can you even get to this point if you are feeling guilty about something!? Its most likely because you haven't accepted Jesus into your heart.
You have to be brutally honest with yourself and repent. Accept Jesus as your savoir and ask for his forgiveness and grace. Its as simple as this prayer, but you have to REALLY mean it:

Dear Heavenly Father, You are love. I know that we are all sinners and we all fall short. I know that I am a sinner. (Say your sin(s) here ***) I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin which is death. However, I am trusting in Jesus as my Savior. I believe that His sacrifice provided for my forgiveness. I trust in Jesus alone as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank you Lord, for saving me and forgiving me. Amen!

***like "I have not worshiped you, but money. or I have worshiped my wife and not you, or I have treated your name disrespectfully, or I do not celebrate and rest in your glory every Sunday, or I have hated my parents, or I have had an angry thoughts about my friend, or I have looked at other women besides my wife and have had sex with them in my mind, or I have stolen music, or I have lied to my spouse, I want the money my friend has"

Grace = Undeserved kindness

Don't give up your efforts to seek God. Its like training for a marathon. You don't just go run a marathon. You will fail because your effort and training was half-hearted. Likewise if you don't practice soul training you will give up and conclude that God cannot be found. He can be found. He wants you to find him. He's waiting for you. He's calling you to come home to him. God is a loving father. As you learn to know God better, you learn to ask what is good for you and he grants it. Pray and ask for the righteous and holy things and they will be given to you. Jesus assures us that we will be rewarded. With what? ETERNAL LIFE.

God is not selfish, begrudging, or stingy and we don't have to beg or grovel as we come to him with our requests. He understands, cares, and comforts us.

If we can be kind, imagine how kind God, the creator of kindness, can be!

Do you find it easy to magnify other people's faults while ignoring your own?

"Do not judge, or you will be judged, For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." -Jesus, -Matthew 7:1

Examine your own motives and conduct instead of judging others.
The things you find in others are often the things you dislike about yourself.
Our own habits and untamed behavior patterns are the exact ones we want to change in others.
If you are about to criticize someone, check to make sure you don't deserve the same criticism.
Judge yourself first and then lovingly forgive and help your neighbor.

This is not against all critical thinking, it is a call to be discerning rather than negative.
We trust God to be the final judge.

Monday, January 19, 2015

How many side effects of worry are you experiencing?

Worry may:

  • Damage your health.
  • Cause the object of your worry to consume your thoughts.
  • Disrupt your productivity 
  • Negatively affect the way you treat others
  • Reduce your ability to trust in God

The difference between worry and genuine concern:

Worry immobilizes, but concern moves you to action.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
Look at the birds of the air;
they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you no much more valuable than they?
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"
-Jesus, Matthew 6:25

Where does your allegiance lie?

Heavenly values vs. Earthly values

Things that do not fade.
Things that can't be stolen. 
Things that can't be used up.
Things that don't wear out.

If you are fascinated with your possessions,they will possess you.

Store your treasures with God, focus your eyes on him, and serve him only.

Serve him alone or you do not serve him at all.

"No one can serve two masters.
Either he will hate the one and love the other, or
he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.
You cannot serve both God and Money."
-Jesus, Matthew 6:24

Which one occupies more of your thoughts, time, and effort?


"For the LOVE of money is a root of all kinds of evil"
1 Timothy 6:10

Friday, January 16, 2015

"To find hope and joy, the deepest form of happiness, follow Jesus no matter the cost."

10 months of reading

Books read from 3/2014 to 1/2015:
  1. Heaven Is For Real
  2. The Story
  3. The Complete Guide to the Bible
  4. For Men Only
  5. Wild at Heart
  6. Fathered by God
  7. Mansfield's Book of Manly Men
  8. Every Man's Battle: Winning the war on Sexual Temptation.
  9. Raising A Modern Day Knight
  10. Scientific Proofs in the Bible
  11. Hell's Best Kept Secret
  12. How to Bring Your Children to Christ
  13. The Little Prince
  14. Mere Christianity
  15. The Good and Beautiful God
  16. The Good and Beautiful Life
  17. Not a Fan
  18. Vices & Virtues
  19. Morning by Morning
  20. Books of the Bible: (Genesis, Exodus, Esther, Job, Ecclesiastes, John, Acts, Romans, Thessalonians, James)

Currently reading:

  1. Streams in the Desert
  2. The Imitation of Christ
  3. Aha
  4. The New Testament

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

To be able to Teach:

1. Acquire the content
2. Believe the content
3. Communicate the content

Friday, January 9, 2015

On To Higher Ground


D                               Em        D
I want to scale the utmost height
D                                               A
And catch a gleam of glory bright
D                                  Em                D
But still I'll pray, till heaven I've found
D                                  F#m Em D
Lord, lead me on to higher ground


D                   A                                  Bm       G
But still I'll pray, till heaven I've found
D                        A                    Bm          G
Lord, lead me on to higher ground

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Divine Providence


G#maj7       F
Believe and trust
G#maj7                    F
Through stars and suns
G#maj7                 F
Through life and death
G#maj7                   F            D#|D 
Through soul and sense


Cm          G#                          F
His wise paternal purpose runs
Cm                   G#                 F
The darkness of His Providence
Cm          G#                    F
Is starlit with Divine Intents