Tag Archives: God

Have an honest moment with Jesus

honest moments with JesusWe affect behavior in front of others and worry too much what others think about us. When have we taken a moment to be honest alone with Jesus? Drop the appearances, be yourself, ask for help.

Do you have time for Jesus in your life? Can you set aside the internet, the news, the funny videos? Read your Bible and pray a bit? Don’t be surprised if He responds.

Have nothing but have it all?

Having Jesus is having it all.Must be Jesus.

The devil’s a pawn shop owner

pawn shopAt the price of your life, he gives cheap thrills.

They’re not even the true value.

Then Jesus comes, if you want, and buys your life back at the full price.

You don’t see God?

creationSimply because I’m not a scientist, must I turn off my intelligence that, upon admiring creation, says: Whoa! There must be a Creator?

Of course among biologists most are evolutionists. But among astronomers, there are a number who see Intelligent Design behind the vast order (physical laws) and grandeur of the universe. I am neither. But that doesn’t mean I’m not smart enough to ponder such wonders and conclude that the evidence is substantial in favor of God.

Don’t suspend your intelligence: the creation has a Creator.

Thankful for my son, Robert


With Thanksgiving approaching, I want to say things for which I am thankful to God. My son Robert wants to be an engineer. He plays club soccer, and he plays in worship at the church. What else could a dad want his son to do?


What are you thankful for? I encourage you to blog your gratitude. Let’s infect the web with gratefulness.

Meeting of the minds

internet

Facebook: I know everyone.

Google: I know everything.

Internet: I connect everything.

Electricity: Without me, y’all are nothing.

God: ROFL.

Ping

ping…from God.

All day long every day. Are you reachable?

As soon as you ping God, you’ll get a quick and strong response. He’s waiting for you to cry out to him. You think nobody sees, no one knows. He has been stretching His arms out to you all day long. You have not known. Ask Him if He’s real, if He’s there. He’ll wrap you up in His arms.

God wants to bless you more than you can bear

Gods blessing

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Why are the beautiful things credited to chance?

God good Creator

… but the evil things get blamed on God.

If chance reigns, then any evil is purely chance — or worse, there is no reason to not act evilly I can benefit myself by it. But if God made this great and wonderful world, then men who reject God are responsible for the evil that happens.

The greatest gift: forgiveness

forgivenessGod gives gifts to men.

What’s startling about this statement is that kings GET gifts from their subjects.

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! — Matt. 7:11 NIV.

The greatest gift you could ever receives is NOT a Lamborghini. Nor is it a date with Brittany Spears. Nor is it a trip to Tahiti.

It is forgiveness.

God’s forgiveness is available only for the asking.

Unfortunately, many are too busy arguing that there is no need to ask for forgiveness.

With broken stones, broken hearts

broken stones altarGod asked the ancients to build Him an altar with broken stones.

To us, He asks us to build one with broken hearts.

This is all an ‘accident’

no God?Yeah, right.

The image comes thanks to Colorado Landscapes on Google+. I don’t own the rights, and I’m not making any money on it.

For those who love blood and cuts on Halloween

bloody halloweenIf gruesomeness excites you for Halloween, look at this.

Jesus endured the whiplashes and the crucifixion to forgive you and me of our sins.

A different kind of zombie

zombie

A different kind of zombie. This is the me, the man behind the Mustard Seed Budget.

Ummmm, I guess I shouldn’t loathe zombies so much.

In my generation, zombies were the bad guys. They were to be feared.

To my chagrin, when I come back 16 years after being on the mission field, and now zombies are good guys. Everybody is fascinated by them. They dress up like them for Halloween. Lots of movies and video games are about them.

So I’m trying to understand the cultural shift. And as I think about zombies, I realize they’re kind of Christian. I mean, what is Christianity about except coming back from the dead.

So… I’m going to be a zombie.

But unlike the zombies of popular culture, I’m not going to be bloodied and gored. In fact, I’m going to have the best most youthful version of my body, made of glorified matter, in Heaven.

As you celebrate Halloween, I invite you to think not on the fantasy but the reality of coming back from the dead. As you prepare for Halloween, why don’t you also prepare for the reality of the Judgement before Christ.

Accept Jesus into your heart today. Ask forgiveness of your sins. Begin to pursue God in your thoughts and actions. Be a real zombie.

He’s called Comforter

comforter | Holy SpiritIt’s not by chance that the Holy Spirit is called Comforter. He comforts.

Honestly, guys need comforting too! (I googled images for comforting and they were all girls. Not one single guy helping a guy.)

When we go through anguish, when we’re frustrated, when we feel like a failure, the Holy Spirit can comfort us.

He’s like a hug, a word of affirmation, a friend who supports you no matter what.

Many find comfort in liquor. Others in wild living. Still others in money. Some disconnect from harsh realities by T.V. or internet.

God wrestles with Jacob

Jacob wrestles God

from blog.adw.org. I don’t own the rights to this image, and I’m not making any money on it.

For God to get Jacob into right relationship with Him, He literally fights against the mortal.

Jacob was a acute and chronic bad boy. He took advantage of this brother, Esau, in a moment of weakness. He deceives his dad and steals his brother’s blessing. He’s the most unscrupulous conniver of the Old Testament.

God works on him. First, he sends him away from his family for 20 years. He can’t attend his mom’s funeral. Then he’s tricked by his uncle, for whom he worked seven years to marry Rachel. When he wakes up the morning after the wedding (lighting was bad in those days), it’s Leah, the ugly older sister. He must work another seven years for Rachel.

Then he’s cheated on wages. When he flees, his uncle comes after him and very nearly kills him.

Still, Jacob is unrepentant.

Then Jacob’s brother comes out with a small army to kill the defenseless Jacob. That night, it finally occurs to Jacob to pray. He literally wrestles with God, a symbol of how his relationship with God has been. God, obviously, wins, but not without some stubborn resistance from the stubborn man.

The next day, Esau’s 400-man army comes upon him — and God miraculously intervenes. Instead of killing him in short order, Esau breaks down and kisses him. It wasn’t the bonds of family that beat the bonds of bitterness. It was God.

How far will God have to go to get your attention?

MacBeth

MacBethShakespeare’s MacBeth starts with good intentions. He defends the king from a traitor. When he’s promised the kingdom, he swears off procuring it himself. If it falls to him, he’ll take it.

But the good intentions soured. Dark ambition took over his heart. When the king visited his castle, MacBeth killed him and made it look like it had been the king’s own guards. As next in line to the throne, MacBeth got the crown.

All his bases were covered except his conscience. He hallucinates that his hands are covered with blood. Then he argues with the ghost of the king in front of his friends. His kingship was short. What’s ill-attained quickly will go up in smoke.

Gratitude

gratitude

Pic from gratitude-alittlegoesalongway.blogspot.com. I don’t own the rights to this image, nor am I making any money on it.

No sooner was the cupbearer freed from jail than he forgot his promise to help Joseph, who had interpreted his dream. Joseph had been imprisoned under false accusation. God was with nevertheless, even though the cupbearer forgot his debt for Joseph’s interpretation of the dream that Pharaoh would free him.

TWO YEARS LATER, Pharaoh has a dream that none of his sorcerers can interpret. Only then does the cupbearer remember his faults and tells Pharaoh about Joseph, who is promptly freed, washed, shaved and ushered into Pharaoh’s presence. He interprets Pharaoh’s dream, and his fortunes are changed.

Sadly, most of us fall in with the cupbearer. God has given us so many good things, and we don’t want to remember or acknowledge our debt of gratitude to Him.

Where every Christian should be

go out on a limb

Thank you http://www.gwynmichael.com for the image. I don’t own the rights, and I’m not making any money on it.

Go out on a limb… for God

Be led by faith.

Pain: when I think on my circumstances

Pain: when I think on my circumstancesJoy: when I think of others’ blessings.

I get discouraged by my own circumstances.

But when I think about other rising disciples in the church, I rejoice to see God blessing and using them.

Lesson learned: think about others.

Far gone?

far gone

image thanks to http://www.fanpop.com

Hope your family. Chance to get married. Dismal finances. Failing health. Forgiveness.

You may feel its too far gone. Happy days or wonderful dreams now seem other-worldly.

Such was the case of Jacob. His favorite son, Joseph, disappeared years ago, apparently victim to a savage animal. His other sons brought him proof of the horrid incident: a bloodied garment.

FOURTEEN YEARS later, Joseph surfaces in Egypt. He never was killed. He was sold in slavery. He’s been promoted to prime minister of Egypt. Jacob simply can’t believe his ears. He gave up hope so long ago and resigned himself to bitterness that now he dares not believe the report.

God has a way of bringing back to you impossibly lost days and dreams. That’s why you need to keep believing.

Do you fit in in church?

dropping out of church

Photo credit: http://authordebbieyoung.com/2014/01/22/why-doing-a-jigsaw-puzzle-is-a-bit-like-writing-a-book/ (I don’t own the rights to this image, and I’m not making any money on it.)

A jigsaw puzzle piece decided he didn’t want to hang out with his brothers. He wanted to go off and discover his destiny elsewhere. Things were too rigid in the jigsaw puzzle. He wanted freedom. He knew that in the world he would make a huge splash and he didn’t need his fellow pieces.

And so, the beautiful picture had a glaring omission. Fellowship was broken, and God’s anointing, which flows where there is unity, was blocked. And the puzzle piece never was beautiful anywhere else.

God designed you for a purpose. You may have other dreams that can draw you away. You are most beautiful where God has placed you. Don’t drop out of church.

He looked for donkeys, and God made him king

looking for donkeysSaul was sent to find some stray farm animals. While he wandered searching, God found him and anointed him king of Israel.

You may be involved in the most prosaic business or ordinary life, and God is looking for you to give you the most extraordinary life.

Many people aren’t looking for God (maybe they’re trying to avoid Him). But God is going to find them.

Can we just stop hurting people who come to church to heal their hurts?

I don't own the rights to this image. I got it from http://mafietta.com. I'm not making money on it.

I don’t own the rights to this image. I got it from http://mafietta.com. I’m not making money on it.

All over the blogosphere, and talking to people outside of church, I find people who have been hurt in the very place where they should’ve been helped.

Yikes!

Honestly, we look more like the Pharisees than Jesus, who ate with tax-collectors and stopped stone-throwing at prostitutes. Of course, the Bible points to a moral standard that must be upheld by the church, but many times it’s simply a pastor’s ego, a leader’s power trip, that offends.

If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea – Matt. 18:6 NIV.

I haven’t left the church. I wish and pray to see the church changed.

Asking God for too little

asklittlegetmuchHe asked for a handout. Peter gave him a healing.

Expecting to get some money, the crippled temple beggar directed his attention to Peter and John. Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk, Peter said in Acts 3:6 NIV.

He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God — Acts 3:8 NIV.

He got MUCH more from God than he expected.

Why do we downsize our prayers? Why down scale down our faith?

God is NOT:

  • offended if we ask big.
  • unable to give.
  • displeased by too much faith.
  • upset by our audacity.
  • budgeting his company.
  • on a diet Himself.
  • scrimping to make ends meet.
  • requiring coupons.

To the contrary, we are ordered to move mountains, not molehills.

Even in the second watch of the night

second watchAs a sandanista, Alex had a super strict commander. Good thing too, because other platoons woke up to find two-thirds their throats slit. The contras in the Nicaraguan civil war of the 1980s took advantage of any platoon with sleeping guards. They slipped in, put one hand over the sleeper’s mouth and with the other cut his throat. It was a noiseless death that allowed them to move to the next and the next, killing 100s, and slink out before dawn. Because Alex’s commander maintained strict discipline, his platoon never fell victim. They were vigilant.

And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. – Luke 12:38 NIV.

As a Christian, I feel like I’ve dropped my guard, eased off the gas pedal — now in the second watch of my life. I’m 47.

On my first watch, as pastor in Guatemala, I was diligent in prayer and the word. Forced to return to the United States four years ago, I don’t get much “playing time.” Consequently, I’ve toned down the regimen. And I feel bad.

We go through different seasons in life. In my “first watch,” the souls of Guatemala took priority. Now in my “second watch,” my kids get it. God is doing wonderful things in their lives. Can I keep following hard after the Lord?

Image

If you seek, you will see

See seek

Prepare to prevail

prepare prevail

There’s no monkeying around. If you want to win, you have to work at it. No matter what you do. Don’t practice until you can do something. Practice until you cannot fail at something.

Romancing Ruth

RuthShe chooses poverty, discrimination and likely abuse all to be with her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi. What gets into Ruth to leave behind the connections and culture of Moab and go to Bethlehem, where she has no chances?

Without any job opportunities, she decides to “glean” behind the harvesters, a back-breaking sun-scorching 12 hours of picking up dropped grains in which you’d expect to get about one meal for one person. A panhandler in the U.S. fares far better.

Yet she was hot. Since she was a foreigner, someone could have taken advantage of her, and she couldn’t expect legal protections. Ruth opened herself to all these dangers and adversities to be loyal to her new family and serve God.

God has a way of honoring those who honor Him. Boaz takes note of her sacrifice and kindness rendered to her mother-in-law. Eventually he marries her. As a result, her finances and future are secured.

Now she’s 18, and that’s teaching me about God

Now she's 18,Now that my eldest is 18, I don’t automatically get to spend time with her. I have to ask for time with her. I’m inviting her to coffee.

She’s in college, though still at home. But she has friends, new and old. She has homework. She has a job. It almost seems like she doesn’t have time for Dad.

No longer do I tell her what to do. She’s an adult. I ask her what she’s doing.

I just want to be with her, to listen to her, to joke with her. I don’t want to be shut out of Rebekah’s life. I long to be with her. This is teaching me about God.

God spent the afternoons walking around talking to Adam and Eve. Managing all the affairs of the universe probably took the morning. The afternoons He saved to be with His children. He yearned to spend time with them. This is not religion; it is relationship.

veinte java chip
But Adam and Eve shut out God by sinning.

He still longs to be with us. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we are granted access to God, if we want it. Do we have time for Him?

>God is not a bunch of rules — He just wants to share a veinte java chip with you.

Love for gays

love for gaysKaty Faust, who valiantly reaches out to gays with compassion and truth, visited our school. It is the second time I’ve been blessed with a fellow blogger coming to talk to the Christian students. Raised by a lesbian mom, she has the credibility to bring some balance to the national maelstorm raging over “equality.”

On the one side, there are Christians who condemn gays and forget that we are all sinners needing forgiveness. On the other side, there are gays who say you are a hater if you believe the Bible. Increasingly in national media, the later dominant and the former are stereotyped. (Westboro does not represent Christianity.)

This blog has never touched the issue of homosexuality nor do I intend to treat it here, but I can recommend Katy’s blog, though its tongue-in-cheek title makes me cringe, here.

Thank you, Katy, for bringing balance and answering kids’ questions with empathy.

Highly esteemed abominations

worship detestable thing

image from blog.kqed.org. I don’t own this image, and I’m not making any money on it

What is dear on Earth, is detestable before God. Arrogant fame, selfish ambition, destructive behavior come to mind.

While the world fawns over its winners, the Christians huddle in unseen prayer. The world ridicules, still we read our Bibles.

Then suddenly, what was all-important loses all its importance… when we die. And everything that we gave scant importance becomes suddenly and eternally consequent.

And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God – Luke 16:15 KJV.

Put to use your resources today

resources for GodThey received a stern command. They were NOT to store manna for the next day. Nevertheless, some Israelites disobeyed, and the delightful food provided by God on one day was completely filled with maggots the next.

Herein lies a great Biblical truth. God has given you resources — money, talent, time, energy. Use it for God today. Don’t hold over for tomorrow because you might not get the chance. It might rot.

Too many Christians plan to give to God at some future date, whether their service or their offerings. Stop putting it off. Do it today. The suffering masses of humanity need to be reached today with the Good News. The need is not going to be more acute or chronic tomorrow (it will if you don’t give today what God has called you to give).

Smile despite the trial

smile trialWhen we praise God through difficulties, we get the victory.

Christian service

serve

I don’t own the rights to this image, and I’m not making any money on it. It was a cool image that I doctored up.

In the world, being served is supreme. In the Lord, serving is supreme.

I am glad to see in today’s news that many are volunteering to be doctors in the Ebola zone. I have not seen in the news that many of these are Christians, risking their lives for service to their Lord.

But even if the service you render is not so “glamorous,” it is still important. Do the job that no one else wants to do at your church. God doesn’t reward the preacher more than the bathroom cleaner. In fact, the one gets the congregation’s applause and thus is at risk from losing his reward. The Bible says, if you so much as give a cup of water to a prophet because he is a prophet, a prophet’s reward you will receive. God is the best accountant for piling up rewards.

Greatness in the seed

seed apple treeHow does something so small as an apple seed produce something so big as the tree that produces sweet fruit that nourishes and delights?

Never despise the small beginnings of a seed. Do small things today towards a great result.

Try another door

knock on doorTwice Paul was halted. He tried to go somewhere, but God didn’t open the door.

Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, HAVING BEEN KEPT BY THE HOLY SPIRIT from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, BUT THE SPIRIT OF JESUS WOULD NOT ALLOW THEM TO. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” – Acts 16:6,7,9 NIV.

Sometimes, the doors don’t open for years and years and years.

Maybe the reason why the door is not opening is because it’s never going to open. Try another door.

Seedless Christians?

seedless ChristiansSeedless watermelons have been engineered so that you don’t have to spit. You can devour sweet, wet, red fruit without the hassle of separating out the seeds. Scientists have also genetically engineered seedless grapes, bananas, oranges, lemons, tomatoes. They are a contradiction in terms because fruit is defined by the seeds they carry.

So too, the Christian is defined by the seed s/he carries, seeds of evangelism, seeds of change, seeds of revolution. A seedless Christian is one who remains continually unmotivated to do much for Christ. He is inwardly focused, self-centered and immature.

Seedless fruits were altered to make the fruit more palatable to the eater. If you are a seedless Christian, you are more palatable — to the devil.

The good news is, of course, that we can pray to become full of seeds. We can begin to aim our lives in a new direction and do the things which Christ has called us to do. A Christian, by definition, saves others from their sins also.

Amorality

amorality

Atheists love to cite the Book of Judges because in it there are the most barbaric atrocities. Going from bad to worse, it literally spirals out of control. If only the atheists took into account the global message of Judges. Instead of thinking it discredits the Bible, they could understand it simply documents reality when a people lose their moral compass (yes, I will say it, when they lose God).

“Every man did what he thought was right in his own eyes,” is its refrain. The author intended to make the case for the need of a king. But it resonates beyond monarchical Israel. When we lose God, we fall into amorality, having no morals.

Of course, the evolutionists have floated the preposterous idea that we humans evolved morality. On the one hand, this thesis undermines evolution because it affirms that we are fundamentally different than animals. On the other hand, it strikes against the essence of evolution: the survival of the fittest.

Have you ever noticed that some “pride” movements are so named because of the innate consciousness of sin (and shame)? Fortunately the abominable “white pride” movement is dying out.

Even if you don’t believe in the Bible, you have a conscious. You know inherently what is good and what is evil. To cast that aside incurs danger.

My son, at 16, is working for NASA

LCA student works for NASA

In the background, Rob Ashcraft participates in some hands-on work with NASA.

No kidding! No, he’s not a child prodigy. It’s simply a story how if you stay where God has planted you and remain faithful, He’ll bring big opportunities to you. Read the full story.

Rob made a wise but hard decision to give up summer fun for a pre-calculus class. He wanted to be an engineer, so he wanted a jump on math. It turns out the teacher, a member in our church, was working on NASA’s antenna for the 2020 Mars rover (yes, they’re still looking for life up there). Eventually, he invited Rob to see the practical applications of the math he was working on.

What an opportunity! To work on a NASA project! Being exposed to greatness doesn’t make you great, but it sure gives you the chance to aim for greatness. See also.

No one listens to me

Does God listenWhat do you mean no one wants to listen to you?

I have been waiting for years for you to talk to Me.

Let beauty be born today in you

letbeautybeborn

If you turn to God, it will be the beginning of beauty in your life.

Thanks Sarah Sue Jones for use of her original artwork. This was my interpretation of your painting. You are the greatest and have a great future. May God bless you! We will miss you.

God never gives up on you

God never gives upHopeless? God still has hope for you.

God still heals…

God still healsbodies, hearts, minds, souls

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A new dawn for your life

new dawn for lifeLet God bring a new dawn to your life.

Peace for the insulted

insultedNothing better than the Word of God: Don’t be afraid of their insults. Don’t be discouraged by their abuse. — Isaiah 51:7 NET

In case you don’t know…

nothing can separate us from the love of GodAbsolutely nothing can/will/shall separate us from the love of God.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,fn neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Rom. 8:28-29 NIV.

Pure joy

pure joyIt smacked me across the face. I was bumming because of trials, but the Bible says I should rejoice.

How do your actually feel happiness for trials?

Keys:

  1. Realize God is using them to bring you much-needed growth.
  2. Realize God is bringing you through them to a blessed end.
  3. Realize God wants you to rejoice in trials.

When you pass the test, you pass the class!

Trials come in all sizes. Generally, beginner Christians get beginner trials. And older Christians are in advanced classes, so to speak. Don’t despair by the size of your trials.

My definition of “pure joy” was something else. Like if Argentina would have won the World Cup. But I have to change my definition of “pure joy.”

Starting over

starting overSometimes, a few revisions, minor changes, slight alterations of modus operandi, sometimes it’s not enough. Sometimes, you have to throw out the whole thing and start over.

No, I’m not talking about divorce. I’m talking about salvation, or starting a new career, or starting your discipleship over completely.

It can be hard to humble yourself (myself) and take the role of inexperienced. Well, there’s nothing wrong with starting over.

I had been watering a bush in our school for a year. For reasons I ignore, it basically died. They pruned it down to the stem. Now it is sprouting. We had to start over.

As I looked at the plant, I wondered if there was a lesson for me.

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Live Love Laugh Lord

live love laugh lord