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New Ministry Website

Starting on January 1, 2017, we will be be launching our new ministry website. We are very excited about this and ask each of you to pray ...

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Daily Message - Too Many Worries and Cares

In this Daily Message, Chaplain Jesse Johns will be discussing how you can overcome the burdens, problems and cares in life by going to the Father in prayer. He reminds us that the Lord will not let us slip or fall. If we stumble, we will not fall because He holds us with His mighty hand.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Operation Christmas Child - Yuliya's story

Another beautiful story of how 1 shoe box can change a child's life and how Christians can make a difference in a world of darkness.

Operation Christmas Child: Alex's Story

My wife, Karla, and I love this beautiful program, Operation Christmas Child. We love hearing these stories and seeing the outpouring of love from those who donate. As Christians, we need to share not only what we have with those who are less fortunate but also to show our love for them by sharing the message of Christ Jesus.  The children want to know that someone cares for them and that there is big hope in a small message that comes in each box.

Preparing Ourselves with a Strong Faith

Today's message comes from Colossians and Ephesians. We will be discussing the importance of strengthening our faith by growing our roots deep into Jesus and making sure that our lives are built on a firm foundation with Christ Jesus as our cornerstone.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Operation Christmas Child

My wife, Karla, and I have been so blessed by Operation Christmas Child. It is such a wonderful program to reach children through something so small as a shoe box. But, remember, our salvation came in a small package, a small baby.

Please donate to this wonderful program, Operation Christmas Child, and change the world one child at a time.

Preparing the Way for the Prince of Peace

As we approach the Second Sunday of Advent and prepare to light the candle of Peace, we must also prepare the way for the birth of the Christ child.

Jesus' birth did not just spring from a good idea. His birth was foretold in the Old Testament. Preparations had to be made for his arrival. During this week, I will be highlighting the scriptures that foretold of his birth and how his arrival will be announced.
Isaiah 40:3-5 New Living Translation (NLT)
3 Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting,
“Clear the way through the wilderness
    for the Lord!
Make a straight highway through the wasteland
    for our God!
4 Fill in the valleys,
    and level the mountains and hills.
Straighten the curves,
    and smooth out the rough places.
5 Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
    and all people will see it together.
    The Lord has spoken!”
A voice will be shouting out to the people to "clear a way through the wilderness for the Lord". Just as the prophets of old, we, too, must lend our voices and prepare the way of the Lord.

Think about how you can announce the coming of Jesus' birthday. It is as simple as saying, "Merry Christmas."

Peace be with all of you who are in Christ.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

First Sunday of Advent - Hope (Closing Prayer)

Our prayer as we close our day...

Dearest, most gracious Heavenly Father, we thank you for the hope you have given us. It is through your son, Jesus, that we have that hope. The light came into the world of darkness and wickedness. That light shone bright and cast away the shadows of despair. We pray that you give us strength to share the hope and the light with those around us. So, that they too may walk in light and have hope. Amen.

First Sunday of Advent - Hope (Special Music)

As we conclude our First Sunday of Advent, let us lift up our eyes and see the hope and the light of the world.

First Sunday of Advent - Hope (Gospel Reading)

The Gospel reading for the First Sunday of Advent comes from Matthew 24:36-44 (NLT).

First Sunday of Advent - Hope (Epistle Reading)

The Epistle reading for the First Sunday of Advent comes from Romans 13:11-14 (NLT).

First Sunday of Advent - Hope (Message)

Jesse Johns, Sr. Chaplain, is delivering the message for the First Sunday of Advent.

First Sunday of Advent - Hope (Response Reading)

The response reading for the First Sunday of Advent comes from Psalm 122.

First Sunday of Advent - Hope (Old Testament Reading)

The Old Testament reading for the First Sunday of Advent comes to us from Isaiah 2:1-5 (NLT).

First Sunday of Advent - Hope (Prelude)

As we begin Advent, let us remember all that it means to us as Christians. The birth of Jesus has so many meanings, but there are a few that are central to us. The first is hope.

Prior to the birth of Jesus, we walked in darkness. We had no hope. The prophets of old told of Jesus' birth and what he will do in our lives. We were given a great gift of hope when the light came into this world of darkness and wickedness.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Forgotten Christmas

Recent studies show that most toys given for Christmas will be broken or lost by March. In five years, most children will not even remember what they received for Christmas, 2016. Why do we find it necessary to continue to receive when it is truly better to give especially to those who are less fortunate?

I encourage each of you to give to your favorite charities this Christmas season.


I recommend taking a look at Gospel for Asia

Durable and Everlasting

During the week of Thanksgiving, I saw what amounts to hours of commercials telling me about Black Friday deals and how early stores would be open. Televisions, washers, dryers, cars, etc. would be marked down in order to give the consumer the best value possible. Next week, we will start to see financial reports telling of how the Black Friday sales boosted our economy. During that same week, Cyber Monday launches and the online retailers will begin their push.

Of the many reports we will see, there is one that strikes me as very interesting, the Durable Goods Orders. This number tells us how our manufacturers are doing and if people are buying big ticket items like appliances, home and office furnishings, lawn and garden equipment, consumer electronics, toys, small tools, sporting goods, photographic equipment, jewelry, motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts and more. These items tend to last for three years or more. That is the definition of a durable good according to the government.

Although each is durable, each also will break down, wear out or we just do not like it anymore. Once a product gets to that point, we buy another one. Each item has a set period of time for it to be useful. Each will in time, break down, wear out or just become obsolete.

Jesus, while talking with his disciples, told them about the future and how things will change. During this change, there is one thing that remains durable and does not break down, wear out or become obsolete. It is his words. Jesus' words and teachings have endured for centuries. Nations and people have come and gone, but his words remain and just as relevant as they were when they were first spoken.

When you buy a new product, think about its durability and then consider the durability of Jesus' words and teachings. Truly the most durable and everlasting.
Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. Matthew 24:35 (NLT)

Friday, November 25, 2016

Preparing Your Heart

With the Christmas season officially beginning, our focus should not be on the commercial aspects of the season. Our focus should remain on the true gift of the season, the birth of Jesus.

Because of God's love for us, He has prepared a way for our salvation through the birth, life and death of His son. In order for us to truly understand the nature of God's gift and His love for us, we, too, must be prepared. Our preparations set the tone for the days ahead.

This year's advent messages that I will be sharing will center on breaking away from our wicked nature and concentrating on those things that are righteous. When we prepare our hearts in this fashion, we are prepared for the return of Christ Jesus. The Son of Man will return at an unexpected hour. We must prepare ourselves.

In Job 11, Zophar rebukes Job for a sin that he has not confessed. Although Zophar judged Job incorrectly and accused him of wickedness, he still makes a valid point that Job must prepare his heart and lift up his hands to God. He further tells him to "leave all iniquity behind". By doing so, Job's life will be brighter than the noonday.

We should heed the words of Zophar and prepare our hearts for the season. I challenge everyone who reads this to take a few minutes each day to prepare your hearts. To use something that I read a while ago, "Jesus is the reason for the season."
“If only you would prepare your heart and lift up your hands to him in prayer!  Get rid of your sins, and leave all iniquity behind you. Then your face will brighten with innocence. You will be strong and free of fear. You will forget your misery; it will be like water flowing away.  Your life will be brighter than the noonday. Even darkness will be as bright as morning.  Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and will rest in safety.  You will lie down unafraid, and many will look to you for help. Job 11:13-19 (NLT)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our family of faith!

Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalms 100:4 (NLT)

5th Kernel of Corn - God Hears Our Prayers and Answers Them

A father and mother were getting their child ready for bed. Just after brushing her teeth, they all got down on their knees and began to pray. Their young daughter began to say the pray her parents taught her. "Now I lay me down to sleep..."

As she was finishing it, she got into bed. Before her parents could turn out the light, she asked a question, "Does God really listen to my prayers?"

Her parent immediately responded, "Yes, God does listen to and answers prayers."

The little girl asked one more difficult question, "How do you know that He listens to and answers prayers?"

That is when the parents said that she had a long day and needed her rest and turned the lights out.

The last question is sometimes the most difficult question to answer. How do we really know that God listens to our prayers and answers them? This question brings us to the 5th and final kernel of corn. It reminds us that God listens to and answers our prayers.

The story of the Pilgrims provides us with the answers to the question of how do we know. While facing tragedies and hardship, the Pilgrims turned to their faith to get them through the problems that they faced. When we turn to our faith, we turn to God and we pray to Him for help, guidance and His mercy. However, we need to understand how we are to pray in order for Him to listen.

David, in Psalm 66, tells us that if we do not confess our sins, the Lord would not have listened to his prayer. (Psalm 66:18) When we approach God's throne in prayer, we must be free from sin. Part of our prayer is admitting our shortcomings and sins and asking Him for forgiveness. Once we have openly admitted our sins and sincerely asked for forgiveness, God will listen to our prayers.

God not only listens to our prayers, but He also pays attention to them. (Psalm 66:19) As our Heavenly Father listens to our prayers, He will answer them. In Mark 11, Jesus tells us that if we ask the Father for anything and believe that you will receive it, He will answer our prayers. (Mark 11:24) Jesus also goes on to say in verse 25 that we need to forgive those who have wronged us before we pray. We need to forgive those just as our Father will forgive our sins.

So, as we all enjoy our Thanksgiving meal, let us remember the 5th kernel of corn that reminds us that God listens to our prayers and that He answers. We should be truly thankful for a having a relationship with a Heavenly Father who listens to us and works miracles in our lives daily.
Psalm 66:17-20 (NLT)
17 For I cried out to him for help,
    praising him as I spoke.
18 If I had not confessed the sin in my heart,
    the Lord would not have listened.
19 But God did listen!
    He paid attention to my prayer.
20 Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer
    or withdraw his unfailing love from me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Seeking Justice and Accepting the Consequences

In Psalm 7, David pleads his case before God and states his innocence. He also acknowledges God's justice and fully accepts the punishment.
O Lord my God, if I have done wrong
    or am guilty of injustice,
if I have betrayed a friend
    or plundered my enemy without cause,
then let my enemies capture me.
    Let them trample me into the ground
    and drag my honor in the dust. Psalm 7:3-5 (NLT)
If David is innocent, he asks for God's protection. He also asks God to declare him as righteous.

We, too, have the ability to plead our case before the Lord and ask for His justice to prevail. But, we also need to understand that if we have wronged those around us, we must be prepared to be judged as well. Part of that judgement is making restitution to those we have wronged. Yes, it is something very difficult to do, but it must be done. It is the act of a righteous individual who understands God's laws.

God defends the righteous and judges by looking deeply into their minds and hearts. By doing so, God is an honest judge. Once again, God is our judge and He is just and will seek the truth.
Then let the heavens proclaim his justice,
    for God himself will be the judge.  Psalm 50:6 (NLT)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Never Give Up!

Throughout history, there are stories about soldiers in desperate situations. In those situations, the soldiers seemed to have only one thing left to do. Give up and surrender. It would be reasonable and it would be an act that no one would question. However, the soldiers decide to stand their ground and fight. Surrender, for them, was not an option to consider.

We, as Christians, fight every single day against temptation. Each day is a struggle. There are days when our faith is challenged due to illness or financial problems. No matter what we face, we have to remain firm in our faith and steadfast in our devotion to our Heavenly Father. By remaining faithful and righteous in the eyes of the Lord, we know that God will deliver us from the troubles that we face.

In my own life, I have faced many struggles and snares. Each seemed more difficult than the last. There have been times when my strength has all but left me and I am just too tired to go on. I, too, want to surrender and give up. It is at those very moments when I lift my hands up to the Lord and pray. I ask Him for the strength to go on and to be victorious. You can rest assured that God will deliver you.

In Psalm 34, David recounts his experience with Abimelek and how God delivered him. David states that he prayed to God and He listened to him. God delivered David from all of his troubles. There is a very important word that we should take note of. The word is "all". God will deliver us from "all" of our troubles. David later states that an angel of God will act as a guard and that angel will surround and defend him. You could not ask for a more. An angel sent to watch over you and protect you.

Verse 19 tells us that the righteous will face many troubles, but God will rescue them each time. 

So, when you are faced with troubles, do not give up. Hold steadfast to your faith and call to God. He will hear you and rescue you.
The righteous person faces many troubles,
but the lord comes to the rescue each time. Psalm 34:19 (NLT)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Doing Good Deeds

While driving in Newnan, I saw a young lady standing on a street corner with a sign asking for help. I stopped and talked with her for a bit. During our conversation, I found out that she had nothing and that her children were hungry. That day I had money in my pocket and gave it to her.

Yes, I know that there are people in the world that scam others and ask for money when they do not need it. However, I am reminded of James 2 when he discusses the virtue of doing good in order to demonstrate our faith. As Christians, it is our place to love one another by fixing our minds on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. (Philippians 4:8)

James states, "...faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless." (James 2:17) Our lives must be dedicated to helping those around us by being Christ-like. To use the contemporary vernacular, we must not only talk the talk but also walk the walk.

Going back to the story of the young lady on the corner, she may have fooled me into believing she needed help. After I gave her the money and left, she may have thought to herself that she fooled another sucker. Yes, I could have been taken by a con artist. I would also say that over time, the Holy Spirit will bring conviction to her heart. She may realize the error of her ways and repent.

Think about what Christ said in the parable of the lost sheep. "And if he finds it [the lost sheep], I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn't wander away!" (Matthew 18:13) I would rather give to someone and pray that if it is not used to feed hungry children, that it bring someone closer to Jesus.
Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works. James 2:26 (NLT)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

4th Kernel of Corn - Love One Another

The fourth kernel of corn reminds of God's gift of loved ones and those who love us. Having people
around us especially during the holidays who love us makes us feel wonderful on the inside. As we are loved, we, in turn, give love to those around us.

It reminds me of a very special Christmas commercial that was very simple, but it gave us a very profound message. In 1971, Coca-Cola launched a series of commercials that were simple. They all started out with a single individual singing a very simple song. The song began, "I'd like to buy the world a home..." In just a short time, more voices and more people picked up the words.

That commercial started with a very simple thought. Bill Backer, the creative director at Coca-Cola, met with the songwriters, Billy Davis and Roger Cook, in a London airport cafe, to discuss what he would like to do. He told them that he wanted to buy everyone in the world a Coke.

Well, it did not go over too well. Davis did not respond favorably to the idea. Backer, sensing his problem, asked him, "Well, if I could do something for everybody in the world, it would not be to buy them a Coke."

Backer then asked him a great question, "What would you do?"

"I'd buy everyone a home first and share with them in peace and love," Davis said.

A very simple message. If you listen to the commercial, that is the first line of the song. It is not buying it a Coke, it is buying everyone a home and furnish it with love.

Jesus, during the Last Supper with disciples, washed their feet and gave them a new commandment. He told his disciples to love each other just as he loved them. By doing that, his disciples and all Christians prove to the world that they are followers of the Christ.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. John 13:34-35 (NLT)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Called by Name

As an educator in adult learning, there is one thing that you can do to get a person's attention and have that person engage in a classroom. It is calling that person by name. It has often been said that the sweetest sound to the human ear is hearing one's name. I know when I call out to even our dogs, they respond to their names. When I am in a store and I use a person's name to address him or her, that person responds in a friendlier fashion. It shows them that you cared enough to read a name tag and address them as individuals.

When our Heavenly Father created us, He did not just create a species or race of human beings that were generic. Each one is special and each has a name that is unique. When He speaks to us, He speaks to each of us as individuals. We are treated with a love that we cannot fathom and it is because of that personal relationship that we are able to be His.

In the book of Isaiah, God calls His people and tells them that they are special to Him. However, there is one particular verse that should ring clearly in our minds and hearts about how special His children really are. He calls us by name and when we are called by Him, we belong to Him.

It is comforting to realize that God with His infinite power and wisdom thinks about each of us as individuals and knows us by name.

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
    O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
    I have called you by name; you are mine.  Isaiah 43:1 (NLT)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Walking by Faith Not By Sight

When I get up in the morning, I have to feel my way around the bedroom. Since I hope that no one has moved anything in the bedroom, I am able to walk without bumping into the bed, chairs or cabinets. Once I make it to the bathroom, I can then put my contacts in and see clearly. But until that happens, I can only make out fuzzy objects and hope that I can avoid stubbing my toe on something or stepping on a dog toy.

Our faith is similar to my morning. It is by faith that we walk with the Lord. We may not see our everything, but we know that we are not alone nor are we here for ourselves. We are to have a faith knowing that we are to please the Lord and that He will guide our steps. It is through that daily walk by faith that we are able to please Him and to continue growing in our relationship with the Lord.

For we live by believing and not by seeing. 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NLT)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Light of the World

One of the first memorable experiences that I have of the home my family is currently living in comes from our first night there.  The house is in a more rural area and, unlike the previous town we lived in, there are no streetlights illuminating the outdoors after the sun sets.  After an exhausting day of moving, we were all ready to crawl under the covers and dream the night away.  When we shut off the lights we were enveloped in a darkness that was new to us.  At first there was silence.  Soon however, almost in unison, three voices rang out saying, “It sure is dark in here!”

How many times have you gotten up at night and stumped your toe on the end of the bed because of the darkness?  In our house it is common to step on a dog’s toy that squeaks and wakes everyone up because it couldn’t be seen.  You may have, as we did, choose to place night lights strategically around the house to avoid those little accidents.

God didn’t create us with the ability to see clearly in the dark.  He didn’t give us that either physically or spiritually.  Have you ever wondered why?  Think of the lesson we learn.  Without light, it is difficult to maneuver.   John 8:12 says, “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”  Just as it is a reflex for us to reach for a light switch when we physically are unable to see, so He wishes for it to be a reflex for us to reach for Him in the spiritual darkness of life.

While we may only be able to see one step at a time, Jesus is able to see the entire path clearly.  If we reach for Him, and follow Him, we can have the assurance that we are safe and secure.  He will not lead us to stumble.  He never needs to replace batteries in a flashlight.  He never has to check the breaker switch in a power failure.  He is by His very nature Divine Light.  Darkness cannot dwell where He dwells.  That is the kind of light I want to live in.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Oh Lord, Restore Us!

One of our dearest friends and member of our family of faith at Lakeline Oaks Retirement Community, Wanda, would often remind each of us that our nation needs to humble itself and pray. We need to seek His face and turn away from our wicked ways.

When I listen or read the news, I see the violence that surrounds us each day. It is appalling and we should act now. As we get closer and closer to Thanksgiving, we should realize that we, as a nation, has been blessed and given so much. As a nation, we also need to realize our place in the world and our responsibilities. We help those who need help in time of tragedy. We defend the rights of the oppressed. We protect the weak and clothed the naked. We feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty.

We truly have been blessed. Over time, we have taken those blessings for granted and now we find ourselves facing problems. Shootings, threats of violence against people and the list goes on of the horrible things we have said or done to others. We have lost our way and need to return to Him.

We need to stop and humble ourselves. Turn away from our wicked ways and seek His favor. When we do that, He will forgive and restore us.

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NLT)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength

With everything that is going on in the world, I can easily understand why people say they are sad, depressed or just plain tired. Disharmony, fighting, bickering and hatred for one another has caused more and more people to seek counseling. It saddens me to hear people say, "If I can only get through this, I will be happy." Soon they find themselves depressed yet again.

As Christians, we have the strength and joy to live in harmony, peace, understanding and, most importantly, love. We should celebrate rather than fight. We should be cheerful rather than dejected. We should be joyful rather than sullen. Once we start being that example to others, the world will begin to change.

Next time you laugh, look around you. You will see people's faces change. People become friendlier and open. Smiles instead of frowns. Happiness is truly contagious. We all want to be happy and we all want to share that happiness.

In my life, I share my blessings with those around me. I find it easier to share joy rather than to be a miser and hold on to it. The Lord's mercy and grace surrounds each and every day and we need to proclaim it to all around us that we have that strength through His Joy.

And Nehemiah continued, "Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don't be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!" Nehemiah 8:10 (NLT)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Mistakes and How We Should Deal with Them

No one likes to admit their mistakes. I know I do not. But, we need to do so in order to obtain forgiveness and mercy.

I want you to think about a major mistake you made in your life. I am not here to open old wounds or have you confess your sins to me. I am asking that you think about how you handled the situation. Did you try to hide or deny it? When confronted, did you lie to others in order to escape the consequences?

Whether you choose to believe it or not, people are very forgiving when you admit your mistake. Lying to others and hiding it only makes it worse. Sooner or later, it will come out. Think of all of the restless nights of sleep and the wringing of your hands as you try to work through the mistake and try to get away from it. Inevitably, it catches up with you and you must then face it. Many of your friends will say, "Why didn't you just come to me sooner?" I think we have all been there.

So, remember, it is best to admit your mistake and ask for forgiveness. It is from those moments that we learn the error of our ways and we can grow more Christ-like in our future actions.

People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy. Proverbs 28:13 (NLT)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

3rd Kernel of Corn - Friends

In my life, I have been blessed with friends who stuck with me through thick and thin. They provided words of encouragement when needed and rebuked me when I did something wrong. In short, no matter what happened they were there for me.

The test of true friendship is being able to reach out to a friend and ask him or her for help and knowing that he or she would help without even thinking about it. I have had several instances in my life where I have been the recipient of true friendship and have done the same for my friends.

As we are about to celebrate Thanksgiving, we should think about the native Americans who helped the Pilgrims through their tough times. They showed them how and when to plant and how to survive the harsh winters. Without their help, there would be no American colonies or Founding Fathers. They truly were and continue to be a blessing to America. 

Just like the Pilgrims and native Americans, we are friends to everyone and brothers and sisters in adversity. We help where we can and there are no strangers to us. When I went to vote on Tuesday, a car was backing out of a parking space. The line of people broke up to let the car out and when the line formed, a group of people moved in front of me. They felt bad about cutting, but it turned out that it was the best thing that could have happened. We began to talk and shared our lives while we were waiting. This how a friendship starts.

Even at an airport, people share and take care of one another. I have seen that happen countless numbers of time. When there is a flight delay, we share a problem and each works to help others get through it. It always amazes me to watch total strangers bond together and become friends.

As we look at the third kernel on our plate, let us give thanks for the blessing of friends and friendship. 

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. Proverbs 17:17 (NLT)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Peace During Times of Transition and Unrest

As I write this, there are protests and riots around the nation regarding the new president-elect. There are those who are screaming that he is not their president.  There are those who are looting and destroying property that does not belong to them.  There are even those who are calling for stopping the inauguration, even if that means assassination.  As I watch the news reports, knowing that he will not be sworn into office until January 20th, I have to wonder how long this will continue.  

This is only one of the things happening in our world right now that can ignite anxiety.  Unstable relations in the middle east, countries stockpiling nuclear weapons, famine, disease, natural disasters, finances and reports of hate filled crimes all remind us that this is not an ideal world.  

Jesus tells us in John 16:33 that “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  And the first of the verse says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.”  Let’s remember that there was trouble during the Lord’s time on earth as well.  There always has been and there always will be.  Until He returns and we live with Him, there will be hard times when we will be driven to our knees to seek His peace.

As we go through the next few months, would you join me in praying for those with angry hearts and anxious souls?  And while you are down on your knees, lift up our new president-to-be and his family. They will need more encouragement and support than anyone.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Remembering Our Veterans

My father served 23 years in the military and I am proud to say that. Each time I see a veteran, I have a certain pride that wells up in my chest. It is because of these brave men and women who decided to serve our nation that we live in a country where we can share our thoughts openly without fear of reprisal. We can worship freely. We live in a great nation where we do not need to fear for our lives or worry if we will just disappear one day. So many nations around the world have never known the freedoms we enjoy today. It is because of the sacrifices of brave men and women that we are so blessed.

Today is Veterans' Day. It is a time to thank those who put on uniforms to fight and, in some cases, give that last full measure.

God instructed Joshua to be brave and to be strong. Never be fearful or discouraged. The same Lord God that gave those words of encouragement and commission to Joshua does the same today. He issues those orders to those who serve our great nation.

Thank you, veterans! We will never forget the sacrifices that you and your families make for a grateful nation.

This is my command--be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 (NLT)

Thursday, November 10, 2016


When my daughter was younger, there would be times when she got lost or separated in a store. If you have children, it happens. The children try to find their parents and just get further lost in the store. The parents are fanatically looking as well. I would not be surprised if the two walked past each other in an aisle. In time, the lost child is taken to the front of the store and an announcement is made. Parents and children are reunited. Simple enough.

There is one thing that we need to consider about this situation. The children and parents did not feel abandoned. Yes, they were lost, but both knew that the other was looking in order to reunite. The same holds true in our relationship with the Lord.

From time to time, we get lost or separated from Him, but we know that we are never abandoned. In time, we come back together and everything is as it should be.

So, when you feel that you are lost or something has separated you from God, remember that no matter what happens, you are still His child and can never be separated from Him.

We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:9 (NLT)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Unity in One Body

Last night I watched the election results. As I listened to the commentators, I heard each slicing and dicing Americans into boxes and discussing why they are voting the way they are. My concern is that after the election we as a nation will continue to be divided. Unity is the best part of the United States. We always come together in times of peace and conflict. We help each other when there are tragedies.

Over the past couple of years, I have seen more and more division in our Christian faith. Churches are breaking apart. I have heard pastors talking about other churches and gossiping. We as Christians need to remember that we are united together by our faith and that we are a part of one body.

Paul in Galatians reminds us that there are no "boxes". We are part of one body. The body of Christ Jesus.

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28 (NLT)

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


This morning, like most Americans, I went to a polling location and cast my ballot. We may disagree on our choices of candidates and debate endlessly, but we must vote. Those who decide not to vote should seriously reconsider that decision. Even if you are led to write in a candidate, you should do so.

This nation was founded on the principles of democracy and our right to vote is a sacred one. It was bought and paid for by the blood of patriots who believed in something bigger than themselves.

So, I encourage each to vote today. Take time to make your voice heard.

How to be Successful in All that You Do

If you browse through Amazon or Barnes and Noble, you will find a truckload of books discussing how you can be successful in business, life, sports or whatever your endeavor or passion is. Books telling you to do this or that. Books telling you you that you can be a success in 10 days if you just follow these principles. Each has a different take or spin on what success is and how to achieve it.

In a study conducted by Marketdata Enterprises, Americans spend $549 million on books to help them be successful in life. Most of the buyers are repeat buyers. It is amazing how much time and money we spend on learning how to be successful when it is really so easy to understand.

For me, I go back to the lessons that my Dad taught me and how to live my life according to those principles. He taught me to be a man of integrity and honor and to be a man of his word. He believed that a man should be paid a good and fair wage for hard day's labor. He taught me to respect those around me and to help whenever and whomever I can. My Dad lived those principles daily. Each is forever ingrained in my heart.

David, like my Dad, gave his son, Solomon, advice on how to be successful. Very simple principles that we should heed as well. He told Solomon to obey and follow God and to keep his commands and laws. If he did those things, Solomon would be successful in all things. Solomon followed those principles and was very successful.

Observe the requirements of the LORD your God, and follow all his ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go. 1 Kings 2:3 (NLT)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Shield of Victory

David, when he was delivered from his enemies and Saul, wrote a beautiful psalm to express his thankfulness and praise God for delivering him from his enemies. In 2 Samuel 22:36, David thanks God for providing him with a shield of victory and making him great.

fortress_8405c.jpgWe, too, have situations where our enemies are all around us. They do not have to be an army in the conventional sense. Our enemies can be spiritual or mental in nature. Our enemies can take the form of an addiction or financial problems. In short, our enemies are always present and will not relent.

With the daily onslaught that we face, we need to remember that God will give us the victory and make us great just as He did for the children of Israel. David faced many in battle and he was victorious only by knowing that his strength and his victory came from the Lord.

You have given me your shield of victory; your help has made me great. 2 Samuel 22:36 (NLT)

Sunday, November 6, 2016

2nd Kernel of Corn - God Provides for All Our Needs

Kernel.pngAfter moving to Georgia two years ago, one of the animals that we noticed here was the raven. If you have not seen one, you will be amazed when you do. It is large, stately black bird. When I say large, it is big enough to carry away a small child. Yes, a slight exaggeration, but it does express the size of this bird. They are also very intelligent and seem to dominate their surroundings.

Even though they are large, dominant birds, the ravens still must rely on someone to provide for their food and shelter during storms. As I watched these beautiful birds, I am reminded of the second kernel of the Thanksgiving tradition of the five kernels. That kernel reminds us that God provides for all our needs.

Raven-Bird-Transparent-Background.pngIn Matthew 6, Jesus tells us that God knows all of our needs. We do not have to wonder about what we are going to eat or drink. He knows and will provide them. So, we do not have to worry about being provided for.

In Luke, Jesus talks about the ravens. The ravens do not sow or reap, but they are provided for. They have all that they need to live because of their Heavenly Father. If God takes care of the birds and lilies of the field, why would you doubt that He would not do the same for His children?

Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! Luke 12:24 (NLT)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Learning Something that is Good, Pleasing and Perfect

As an expert in adult learning and development in the corporate world, I can easily tell you that one of the key metrics that is always considered is the affect to the business' bottom line by behavioral changes in the students. Has the student not only learned the material but also is he using it in an effective manner on the job? This is often referred to as the Kirkpatrick Level 3. This means that the student is able to demonstrate the skills that he learned in the classroom on the job. It is one thing to say that a person attended a training class, but it quite another to say that he is able to effectively use the skill on the job.

The same holds with our Christian life. We can go to Sunday School classes, morning worship services and possibly Wednesday Bible studies. However, can we honestly say that we have learned the lessons when we do not demonstrate what it means to be a Christian? Think about your actions during the week. Are you demonstrating Christ-like behaviors to your friends, family, co-workers and even strangers?

Paul tells us in Romans 12:2 that we must be transformed by God into a new being and not follow the learned behaviors of the world. We must discard them and live as God intended for us to live. Once we start living the way God's will dictates to us, we will find that that the new behaviors are good, pleasing and perfect.

Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 (NLT)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Approval of God or Others

Whether we are looking for a job or trying to become friends with others, we are constantly trying to win the approval of others. We will do anything to become a member of a particular group so that we feel that we belong. Is that really what we need to be doing?

As Christians, we should be striving to seek the approval of God. By following the teachings of His son, Christ Jesus, and by following the Word, we can become "good and faithful servants".

With the holidays coming up quickly, let us strive to help those around us and demonstrate God's love in a most profound way. Help those who need help. Feed those who are hungry. Give water to those who are thirsty.

Paul reminded the church in Galatia that we need to be Christ's servant and not to seek the approval of people but of God.

Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. Galatians 1:10 (NLT)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

First Kernel of Corn - God Loves Us

As we continue to give thanks to God, let us remember the first kernel of corn that the Pilgrims used to hold on to their faith during their hardships.
The first kernel reminds us that God loves us.
I had an opportunity to ask an astronomer a question that drew a very astounded look. I asked him, “How big is the universe?” After he cleared his throat a few times, he began to explain that there is no real way to determine its size. If we just look at the observable universe, it would be 93 billion light years from edge to edge. That means it would take light 93 billion years traveling at 186,000 miles per second to go from one side to the other.
God’s love for us knows no boundary or obstacles. It is always there and nothing can separate us from His Love. Paul, in Romans 8, reminds us of this.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Thanksgiving Tradition of the 5 Kernels of Corn

Several years ago, I preached a series of sermons dedicated to Thanksgiving. The central theme of that series centered on the Thanksgiving tradition of the 5 Kernels of Corn.

If you remember from your history, the pilgrims, when they arrived in North America, had many hardships such as crop failure and the harsh weather. During this time, food had to be rationed. The pilgrims received a daily food ration of 5 kernels of corn. When you look at those tiny yellow kernels, there is no way that a person could survive on them. It was not the kernels that got the pilgrims through the hard times. It was their unwavering faith in God that saw them through. Instead of seeing the corn as meager rations, the pilgrims saw them as 5 blessings from God.

Each kernel stood for a part of their faith and each came to have a meaning.

  • The first kernel reminds us that God loves us.
  • The second kernel reminds us that God provides for all our needs.
  • The third kernel reminds us of the friends God has given us — just as the American Indians were friends to the pilgrims.
  • The fourth kernel reminds us of all the people God has given us who love us.
  • And the fifth kernel reminds us that God hears our prayers and answers us.
Over the next couple of weeks, I will be discussing each kernel and what each should mean to us as we get closer to Thanksgiving. Let us always remember God's blessings of the 5 kernels.

Calling on Him in Truth

Several years ago, I was in a convenience store in Austin, Texas, and watched a very interesting scene unfold. I saw a person working on filling out lottery slips for his picks. While he was doing that, he prayed and asked God for luck on winning the lottery. He said that if he wins, he would give 10% of his winnings to his church and would give to the poor. As he completed his tickets and went to the counter to purchase his picks, he continued to pray for luck. He purchased $100 in lottery picks. Did he win? I know that the convenience store did not post itself as selling the winning lottery pick. So, I guess he could have one a smaller pot or nothing at all.

Let us suppose that he won nothing. What would be his prayer then? "God, why weren't you listening to me?"

When we ask for God's help, it should be for things that we need and our prayers should be earnest. Praying is not a game show like "Let's Make a Deal" or "Deal or No Deal". We offer our prayers in truth. God always listens and will grant our prayers and desires in accordance with His will.

The LORD is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth. He grants the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cries for help and rescues them.
Psalms 145:18-19 NLT