The sky is always blue beyond the clouds. There is always hope and encouragement here.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


Why does it seem like evil, wicked people have it so good in this life?
Things just line up and go well for them while I/we struggle and endure through everything?
When I/we count our blessings it's hard not to compare our list with people of the world that seem to have it all. 
“For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek. They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.”
Psalms 73:3-5 ESV

But think about it,
Would you rather be in their shoes? Would you rather have worldly possessions and no salvation?
Do not envy those that don't know the Lord.
Keep working with all your heart and might. Struggle to possess that which can never be taken away or rot.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Breaking Up

In the case of a divorce, no one ever wins. A bond of unity is broken and it affects more than just two people. If there are children, their lives will be changed forever and the stability that they always believed in is shattered.
In laws, siblings, and even common friends all have to change the dynamics of their relationships with the two people that are divorcing.
Even if the splitting couple come to amicable agreement in settling things afterward, there will long be ripples in the pond of their lives.

Now compare all of that to a church split. 
It is a very sad event and many people will be affected. Longtime members become very disheartened. New believers will not understand and have a distorted view of spirituality. Church leaders worry and become heavily burdened. But most of all the church becomes a mockery to people of the world.
How on earth do these things happen?

The church is full of people, human beings. The people have been washed in the blood of Jesus and have had their sins washed away. However, they are still human. They will still sin. Christians are not perfect people. (Gasp!)
And anytime people are around each other, there will eventually be problems. 
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3 ESV)

People can be selfish, people can be overly sensitive, people can be blunt, people will disappoint, people lack compassion, people gossip, people manipulate, people expect things from you, people harbor grudges. And the faults go on and on.
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:1-4 ESV)

bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. (Colossians 3:13 ESV)

Our focus should be Christ, His Kingdom and His work. We should be responding to people with love, kindness, inclusiveness, and always forgiveness.

And if, still a church splits, the only way for any involved to ever heal from that is to avoid taking sides, refrain from participating in gossip, work at bringing about peace, seek God's guidance, be very disciplined, re focus on Christ and His Kingdom. Every action, thought and words should come from humility. 
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32 ESV)
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14 ESV)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Empty Handed

Those who come to worship with empty hands, also come with empty hearts.
Do you come into the Worship Service with empty hands? Have you ever heard the saying, 
"You will only get out of it, what you put into it?"
People come to church because they are hurting or seeking. They are looking for answers and hope. 
The truth is, that describes all of us there. We all need hope and answers. And it can be found there. The answers come from God and His word. 
We are to support and encourage each other in these beliefs. But too often we come as empty vessels expecting to be filled without doing anything to fill someone else.
For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’ (Matthew 13:15 ESV)
When we attend church with open eyes and open ears, we can become equipped to be of help for helping others.
...to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, (Ephesians 4:12-13 ESV)

Are we looking beyond our own brokenness and needs to see that others are broken too? My hope and prayer today is that we really truly will begin to put others ahead of ourselves. I pray that when we come together in worship that we will enter with Thanksgiving in our hearts, and come (and leave) with the mindset of being the hands and feet of our Lord. 
What if God met our needs and came to us empty handed?
And none shall appear before me empty-handed. (Exodus 34:20b ESV)

Thursday, September 15, 2016


I am becoming more and more aware that the reason why we love Facebook so much is because we can have "friends" without really being one.
We can like people's comments. We can feel like we are included in their happenings, we can enjoy their lives without investing ourselves at all.
We can share our lives, pictures and feelings to anyone who cares to look without really having a real shoulder to lean on.
What is happening to our culture? Are no relationships cherished anymore?
I sometimes wonder if I have any real friends at all.
I am not feeling self pity or trying to be a downer, but I am worried about our self serving society which is infiltrating our churches too.
Are we really too busy to be a friend?
Do you want friends without wanting to be one?
Oh Lord, I pray that I can strengthen someone with my prayers for them because I really care.
I pray that I can be a blessing to the lovely people I call friends.
But mostly Lord, I want to be an encourager. 
In lifting up someone else, I receive many blessings.
And Lord, when I need a friend, bring one to me. 
Thank You for Jesus, a friend that sticks closer than anyone else.
In His name, Amen.


Because of a lesson that I am preparing to teach I have been doing a word study on the Greek word, eusebeia.

 yoo-seb'-i-ah; from G2152; piety; specially, the gospel scheme:—godliness, holiness. 

When breaking down the word it is like this:
Eu - well
Seb - sacred awe, reverence in ones actions
So it is behaving with piety, respect and honor toward God.
Eusebeia in the New Testament is  most often translated as "godliness." 
...seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, (eusebeia) through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. (2 Peter 1:3 NASB)

It isn't to be used as " religious." The word goes deep. It isn't just attitude. It is attitude, behavior, actions, being in awe and wonderment and acting accordingly.

With all of that being said, where is our godliness? What has happened to the reverent respect that used to be in our services?
It is hard to tell the honest to goodness Christians in a crowd and even our churches are acting more and more like the world. 
I, for one, would like to see God's people behaving godly. And not just at church but in everyday life. 
Eusebeia - godliness

In continuing on with my study of godliness I came across a few interesting verses on the subject.
First because of the grace of God we can renounce ungodly behaviors and live self controlled, upright and godly. Godly people no longer live or appear worldly.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, (Titus 2:11-13 ESV)

Paul equates godliness with knowing God's Word and living faithfully in action and knowledge.
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, (Titus 1:1 ESV)

Only those that live out holiness and godliness will be spared the destruction of the earth.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! (2 Peter 3:10-12 ESV)

Godliness can be described as walking with God. Wouldn't it be great to be known as a person that walks with God.
When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. (Genesis 5:21-24 ESV)
And in the faith chapter of Hebrews 11, Enoch was spared a physical death because his godly life "pleased" God.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation.
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:1-2, 5-6 ESV)

Godliness is not a religious thing. It is not behavior reserved for Sundays. Godliness is a part of one's character. It is similar to knowledge in that it is part of our being. And it should be ever deepening. And it is always sincere.

It is my hope to live and grow in godliness until the day the Lord calls me home.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Unstable or steadfast?

Bill and I have been working hard to exercise and lose weight. We have been at it steadily now for 12 weeks. 
Recently we switched up our workout routines to a program that incorporates country music with some exercise moves that mimic line dancing and country dancing. 
There is one move that is called, The box step. It is to a four count. Imagine standing in the center of a clock face. First the left foot steps across in front of the right foot, and lands in the 1 position on a clock face. Then the right foot steps back to the 5 position on a clock face. The left foot then steps onto the 7 position on the clock face. Immediately followed by the right foot stepping onto the 11 position. Remember, 4 count. Then repeat.
Go ahead, get up and try it. I'll wait.
You know you're going to.
Anyway, if done properly, the second count kind of throws you off balance a bit and it begins to feel like a stagger.
Keep trying. It's fun.
But while doing our workout I was reminded of our Sunday sermon. It was from James Chapter 1:5-8
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:5-8 ESV)
Read it again. 
If you lack wisdom, ask it of God.
He gives generously....to ALL,.......without judgement.
But! But! But!
Ask with faith.
No doubting!!!!
One who doubts is like a wave of the sea. (Picture the waves of a stormy sea. One that doubts is up and down, here and there, no direction or rhythm.)
The person who doubts should not expect anything from God.
That person is double minded. ( I believe, I'm not sure I believe, I believe, but I still don't believe)
That doubter is unstable, a staggerer. Someone who shuffles around unbalanced and off kilter.

Bill says that I am getting pretty good at the country dance workouts. He says I have really mastered the moves.
But as a Christian I don't want to master the stagger. I want to be stable. I want to be just like 1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV)
Steadfast and immovable sounds way better than driven and tossed by the wind and unstable in all ways.