Monday, December 26, 2005

Finished Bible in a Year Program

Today was my 365th reading in crosswalk.com's Bible in a Year program. It was a fun and meaningful year! I especially enjoyed reading it in the New Living Translation. Not sure what I want to do in 2006.

God's word is truly amazing!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas 05

Is 60:22b " I, the LORD, will bring it all to pass at the right time."

Kids up at 6. Ran down the steps screaming with joy! Keyboard, ipod shuffle, digital camera, American girl doll, nintendo ds, cookware, electric razor- and a whole lot more!
God is good to us!

Saw Chronicles of Narnia- fantastic!

We had a nice Christmas Eve service and went to friends for dinner.

We will go back to church at 10:30

Been a nice- reflective, and fun celebration!

'lower case gods bow down to the Capital'

Friday, December 23, 2005

How to Delight

Is. 58: "13 "Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don't pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the LORD's holy day. Honor the LORD in everything you do, and don't follow your own desires or talk idly. If you do this, 14 the LORD will be your delight. I will give you great honor and give you your full share of the inheritance I promised to Jacob, your ancestor. I, the LORD, have spoken!"

This is a special Christmas Day coming! It is a most holy day on the Lord's day! I want our family to really delight in God on that day- I hope all the presents, meals, etc is secondary.

Notice that it is not a duty- it is an enjoyment...a delight..if we do this the LORD will be our delight.

Is that the best Christmas ever? You betcha!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Sale Ends Soon!

Isaiah 55:6 "Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. 7 Let the people turn from their wicked deeds. Let them banish from their minds the very thought of doing wrong! Let them turn to the LORD that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 "My thoughts are completely different from yours," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. 9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."

The Lord is able to be found- He offers you an offer too good to be true - A FULL PARDON!

How do you take advantage?

1- Repent - Let the people turn from their wicked deeds. Let them banish from their minds the very thought of doing wrong! Let them turn to the LORD- Repentence means "turning away from your wickedness and to the Lord"

2- Faith- Believe that God can do what He has promised- "My thoughts are completely different from yours," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine" God provided this salvation for you through the gift of His son, Jesus.

What a wonderful time of year to do this- turn to Christ! Give Him a gift this Christmas of your very life!

But do it soon- time on this offer is running out!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Winter of Discontent 05

Is 49:4 ""But my work all seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose at all. Yet I leave it all in the LORD's hand; I will trust God for my reward." 5 And now the LORD speaks – he who formed me in my mother's womb to be his servant, who commissioned me to bring his people of Israel back to him. The LORD has honored me, and my God has given me strength. 6 He says, "You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me. I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."

I see part A but part B seems so distant.

This is a typical time for me, but it is just as unpleasant today as every year. End of the year and I am worn out! As I come to the last few days of this yearly Bible reading, I feel like I have accomplished so little.

I met with an upcoming Senior yesterday, trying to inspire him about next year. He was polite, but unmoved. As January comes, I will move into my third campaign as head coach, and I've done a lot of work, but wonder how much I've accomplished. These are the times to reflect and analyze, and correct. I wonder if I have provided the leadership we need to effect these changes.

Yet, Lord- I will trust in You. I need Your strength and realize yet again how helpless I am without You.

These last few days of December, I will pray and reflect. Lord, I already ask that You would allow 2006 to be a year of momentum and victory. We need You in a desperate way!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Key to Unity

Ez 11:19 "And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their hearts of stone and give them tender hearts instead,"

The biggest key to "singleness of heart" is a new heart. One that is pliable and not rigid. One that listens and is willing to bend. It is a gift from God.

Father, we all need refreshment. We have grown tired and rigid. Please send a spirit of newness and conformity to You.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Idolatry of Intellect

"When you are arguing against Him you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all."
C.S. Lewis--Mere Christianity

I go to skeptic's webpages often. You find all kinds- some are warm and good humored and others are bitter and vile. I want to make some comments about the skeptics:

#1 Most of these people are much smarter than me. When I use "simple ramblings of a football coach" as a sub heading, I mean it. I am always impressed by their intellect.

#2 All of us are biased. Ultimately the skeptic is hanging on to thought processes to soothe and firm his unbelief. I do the same in pro-God argumentation.

#3 Smart people on both sides - I believe that the intelligence is a draw.

#4 Ultimately, the skeptic has more faith in his reason and the Christian less faith in his.

God gives us evidence, not proof. And ALL men live by faith.

I do not trust in my reason- I trust in God. I walk in quiet confidence past the tsk tsk of the atheist- by the wailing of other religions- and humbly bow at the cross. I am not alone and I am not afraid.

I often wonder- years from now- when the skeptic and I are in forgotten wheelchairs- who will feel the stronger?

Will he ever come to grips with the fact that he has gambled all eternity on brain functions limited by time and biased toward godlessness? Is it worth the gamble then?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Shout!

Isaiah 40: " 6 A voice said, "Shout!"I asked, "What should I shout?""Shout that people are like the grass that dies away. Their beauty fades as quickly as the beauty of flowers in a field. 7 The grass withers, and the flowers fade beneath the breath of the LORD. And so it is with people. 8 The grass withers, and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever."


LISTEN TO ME! YOU ARE APPROACHING A DEATH DAY- YOUR BODY WILL WEAR OUT AND YOUR BREATH WILL LEAVE- TURN TO THE TRUTH OF THE BIBLE- GOD IS THERE- HE HAS FASHIONED A SALVATION THROUGH HIS SON- COMMIT TO HIM TODAY!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

When God Wounds

Lamentations 3: "12 The LORD bent his bow and aimed it squarely at me. 13 He shot his arrows deep into my heart. 14 My own people laugh at me. All day long they sing their mocking songs. 15 He has filled me with bitterness. He has given me a cup of deep sorrow to drink. 16 He has made me grind my teeth on gravel. He has rolled me in the dust. 17 Peace has been stripped away, and I have forgotten what prosperity is. 18 I cry out, "My splendor is gone! Everything I had hoped for from the LORD is lost!" 19 The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. 20 I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss.

21 Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: 22 The unfailing love of the LORD never ends! By his mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. 23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day. 24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!" 25 The LORD is wonderfully good to those who wait for him and seek him. 26 So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD. 27 And it is good for the young to submit to the yoke of his discipline. 28 Let them sit alone in silence beneath the LORD's demands. 29 Let them lie face down in the dust; then at last there is hope for them. 30 Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them. Let them accept the insults of their enemies. 31 For the Lord does not abandon anyone forever. 32 Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion according to the greatness of his unfailing love. 33 For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow."

Hurricanes, Avian Flu, Crime, War, Terrorism, Cancer are sometimes given as afflictions under God's hand as discipline. Very few people want to see God this way. Not every victim is being punished because of their sin- any single event has hundreds of purposes- but we do suffer sometimes because of idolatry and sin. When God wounds... do not loosen your grip on the cross- cling to it even harder.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

An Open-Handed God

Psalm 145: "16 When you open your hand, you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing. 17 The LORD is righteous in everything he does; he is filled with kindness. 18 The LORD is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him sincerely. 19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cries for help and rescues them."

Father, I plead with You to open the hand of provision and kindness. I am hungry and thirsty and realize that nothing in this world satisfies. My sin robs me of my sustence. I need Yor Spirit to help me call on You sincerely. Fill my desires with closeness and kindness.

I am helpless without You. I am a pitiful, needy, and unworthy son.

Thank-you for Your kindness!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Keep Praying

Dear God Our Father,
In this time of great division and danger, we ask that you help us. Not that we deserve it, but we want to continue to be a beacon of hope and a model of success. This life is a mixed bag and a temporary host. May you allow us to continue being a preservative of the natural entropy of order.
Lord, the churches are dark in the old land and selfishness reigns. Intellectual imperialism tickles the ears but salve no wounds. Our churches are flickering. Please revive us- give us soft hearts of love and united hearts of courage. We wimper in our prosperity and hoard our greed.
Be gracious to our leaders and heal our land.
In the name and example of Christ,
AMEN

A Thanksgiving Blessing

II Peter 1:2 "May God bless you with his special favor and wonderful peace as you come to know Jesus, our God and Lord, better and better. 3 As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive his own glory and goodness! 4 And by that same mighty power, he has given us all of his rich and wonderful promises. He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in his divine nature.

5 So make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life. Then your faith will produce a life of moral excellence. A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better. 6 Knowing God leads to self-control. Self-control leads to patient endurance, and patient endurance leads to godliness. 7 Godliness leads to love for other Christians, and finally you will grow to have genuine love for everyone. 8 The more you grow like this, the more you will become productive and useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

When you count you blessings- add:

1- the special favor of God
2- the peace of God
3- knowing Jesus- better and better
4- the gift of His divine power
5- having all we need to live a godly life
6- receiving His glory and goodness
7- rich and wonderful promises
8- escape from decadence around you
9- sharing in the divine nature
10- a life of moral excellence
11-knowing God better
12- self- control
13- patience
14-godliness
15- love for all
16- being productive and useful for God

We really cannot number all the God has poured out on us- I thank You with tears.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Downturns Are Temporary

Jer. 33:10 "Yet in the empty streets of Jerusalem and Judah's other towns, there will be heard once more 11 the sounds of joy and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will be heard again, along with the joyous songs of people bringing thanksgiving offerings to the LORD. They will sing, 'Give thanks to the LORD Almighty, for the LORD is good. His faithful love endures forever!' For I will restore the prosperity of this land to what it was in the past, says the LORD."

We suffer from sin. We are a cursed people. We often (not always) suffer because of living in a land of crime, addiction, divorce, betrayal, sensuality, selfishness- the list goes on and on.

I believe our country suffers because of a dimming light of Christ. It is hard to receive national blessings in a land where pornagraphy is prominant in our homes but prayer is out of the schools. We suffer when the f-word is all over our Ipods and God's word is being pressured to take out of our pledge.

It is too simple to say that hurricanes, health care crisis, rabid homicide rates, child molestation is just against national sin- because the righteous are involved in those tragedies- but it is interesting to see that our blessings are limited on a national basis, I believe, because we are daily drifting from God. Read the Old Testament and you will see, if we continue on this downhill slide- we are in trouble.

But these set backs are always temporary, God will redeem His people and restore the land. He will either come back (please today, Lord) or send revival (right now, Lord).

Will you help me, help this along?- please give your heart to Christ and repent now- He is worth every second of it!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Laboring in Vain

Psalm 127:1 "Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is useless. Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. 2 It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones. 3 Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him. 4 Children born to a young man are like sharp arrows in a warrior's hands. 5 How happy is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates."

I confess to You O Lord that I am powerless to do even 1 good thing. I cannot change a heart, I cannot build a family or a program- I desprerately need You.

I am under some questiong now and results are not seen- Father- You must protect me, I cannot protect myself. I have stepped out and made decisions- these are mine and represent me.

In my deepest heart of hearts, I know I am doing right- I am willing to stand firm- but Lord- only You can change the hearts of parents and students in our school. I want to be Your man to stand for right- even if the whole world fights against me- If You are on my side- I will win.

It is dark- a winter of discontent- Lord I need the sunshine of Your smile- Only You can grant victory!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Hurt

When God wants to drill a man,
And thrill a man,
And skill a man
To play the noblest part;
When He yearns with all His heart
To create so great and bold a man
That all the world shall be amazed,
Watch His methods, watch His ways!
How He ruthlessly perfects
Whom He royally elects!
How He hammers him and hurts him,
And with mighty blows converts him
Into trial shapes of clay which
Only God understands;
While his tortured heart is crying
And he lifts beseeching hands!
How He bends but never breaks
When his good He undertakes;
How He uses whom He chooses,
And with every purpose fuses him:
By every act induces him
To try his splendor out--
God knows what He's about.
--Author Unknown

"Whole, unbruised, unbroken men are of little use to God." A.W. Tozer


Behind my life the Weaver stands,
And works His wondrous will.
I leave it in His all-wise hands,
And trust His perfect skill;

Should mystery enshroud His plan,
And my short sight be dim,
I will not try the whole to scan,
But leave each thread with Him.

Nor till the loom is silent,
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God unfold the pattern,
And explain the reason why.


The dark threads were as needful
(In the Master's skillful hand)
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He planned.
--Author Unknown

– Soli Deo Gloria –

Saturday, October 22, 2005

We Lost - Praise the Lord

This will sound like a crazy post. We lost a heartbreaker last night. One of the worst kind of losses- we had opportunities to win. Please understand that losing kills me- my heart hurt very deeply last night. I always feel like I have let my players down. But my hurt will not keep me from praising the Lord Jesus. He will always bring glory and triumph- it is hard to see because He sees in the light of eternity.

As I walked off the field, an opposing parent came to me. She asked if I was the coach and I said yes. She said, "I went to your (school) website this week and wanted to commend you on your stance for Christ."

Now I have to face my team and tell them what is facing us- if we win next week we keep playing in the playoffs, if we lose we are out. Playoffs begin for us a week early.

Psalm 112 says, "1 Praise the LORD! Happy are those who fear the LORD. Yes, happy are those who delight in doing what he commands. 2 Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed. 3 They themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will never be forgotten. 4 When darkness overtakes the godly, light will come bursting in. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous. 5 All goes well for those who are generous, who lend freely and conduct their business fairly.

6 Such people will not be overcome by evil circumstances. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. 7 They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the LORD to care for them. 8 They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. 9 They give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will never be forgotten. They will have influence and honor. 10 The wicked will be infuriated when they see this. They will grind their teeth in anger; they will slink away, their hopes thwarted."

A football game isn't much in a world of war and cancer- I went from hurting to happy in Christ and desire for the gospel to go forth. I wish others could have what Jesus Christ has given me!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Give Thanks and TELL

Psalm 107:1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. 2 Has the LORD redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has saved you from your enemies. 3 For he has gathered the exiles from many lands, from east and west, from north and south. 4 Some wandered in the desert, lost and homeless. 5 Hungry and thirsty, they nearly died. 6 "LORD, help!" they cried in their trouble, and he rescued them from their distress. 7 He led them straight to safety, to a city where they could live. 8 Let them praise the LORD for his great love and for all his wonderful deeds to them. 9 For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

10 Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom, miserable prisoners in chains. 11 They rebelled against the words of God, scorning the counsel of the Most High. 12 That is why he broke them with hard labor; they fell, and no one helped them rise again. 13 "LORD, help!" they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. 14 He led them from the darkness and deepest gloom; he snapped their chains. 15 Let them praise the LORD for his great love and for all his wonderful deeds to them. 16 For he broke down their prison gates of bronze; he cut apart their bars of iron.

17 Some were fools in their rebellion; they suffered for their sins. 18 Their appetites were gone, and death was near. 19 "LORD, help!" they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. 20 He spoke, and they were healed – snatched from the door of death. 21 Let them praise the LORD for his great love and for all his wonderful deeds to them. 22 Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and sing joyfully about his glorious acts.

God has redeemed me
He has saved me
He rescued me
He freed me
He healed me

How can I not tell of Him and praise Him and sing joyfully?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Standards

1 A psalm of David. I will sing of your love and justice. I will praise you, LORD, with songs. 2 I will be careful to live a blameless life – when will you come to my aid? I will lead a life of integrity in my own home. 3 I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all crooked dealings; I will have nothing to do with them. 4 I will reject perverse ideas and stay away from every evil. 5 I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors. I will not endure conceit and pride. 6 I will keep a protective eye on the godly, so they may dwell with me in safety. Only those who are above reproach will be allowed to serve me. 7 I will not allow deceivers to serve me, and liars will not be allowed to enter my presence. 8 My daily task will be to ferret out criminals and free the city of the LORD from their grip.

We are not saved by good deeds- but our desire to serve Christ should cause us to have some of these uncompromising standards.

I have violated almost all of these.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Road of Life

Psalm 90 : " 10 Seventy years are given to us! Some may even reach eighty. But even the best of these years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we are gone. 11 Who can comprehend the power of your anger? Your wrath is as awesome as the fear you deserve.

12 Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom. 13 O LORD, come back to us! How long will you delay? Take pity on your servants! 14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. 15 Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good. 16 Let us see your miracles again; let our children see your glory at work. 17 And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!"

Had a fun football win Friday night and then ran a 5K race on SAT- I haven't been running as much because of football- and the course was a winding up hill for half the race challenge!

While I was running, I became overwhelmed at how good God has been to me. Just to be able to run when last fall I had a torn meniscus and could barely walk- the trail was beautiful- and I was hurting. It is like life- it is bittersweet- glory and pain- successs and emptiness.

I agree with the Psalmist- Come to us Oh Lord- no more delay! Let our children see you anew! Yes- make our efforts successful!
AMEN

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Desire of Delight

Psalm 81:8 "Listen to me, O my people, while I give you stern warnings. O Israel, if you would only listen! 9 You must never have a foreign god; you must not bow down before a false god. 10 For it was I, the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things. 11 "But no, my people wouldn't listen. Israel did not want me around. 12 So I let them follow their blind and stubborn way, living according to their own desires. 13 But oh, that my people would listen to me! Oh, that Israel would follow me, walking in my paths! 14 How quickly I would then subdue their enemies! How soon my hands would be upon their foes! 15 Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him; their desolation would last forever. 16 But I would feed you with the best of foods. I would satisfy you with wild honey from the rock."

Open your mouth wide to God and He will fill it with good things. Your enemies will be subdued quickly, you will eat the best of foods, and receive wild honey from the rock. God is that good. He brings blessings when we can't imagine. Open up to Him, be willing to be submissive to His ways. He humble and quietly trust. It is a delicious life with Him!

But if you resist and bow up to Him and shut your eyes and mouth- then beware. You have no clue how unfulfilling it is to follow your own desires. You serve other gods, ultimately being a god to yourself- and we are very poor gods.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Control of Katrina

How does one Biblically respond to Katrina?

#1 God is in control- He was not absent from the storm. He was the fury of it. He was the pilot of it. Nothing happens outside of His sovereignty.

#2 The rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matt 5). Katrina represented judgement for some and graduation to heaven for others. See Jesus commentary in Luke 13 on human disaster. The question is always- "Am I ready for my death?"

#3 God is love and compassionate. In the storm, is also God's love. It is the same love shown on the cross. Where was God when Katrina struck? He was in the same place as when His Son hung on the cross. He is in control and full of love.

#4 For the believer. tragedy is turned to triumph. Rom, 8:28 promises that all things work for good. How can that be? The reaction to the tragedy shows God's truth. It shows mans depraved nature (Rom 3:23) in the looting and crime. It shows the existence of God in how we value life (we spend money and risk lives to save lives). It gives God's people a chance to show compassion (II Corin 1). It wakes us up from trivial lives of idolatry.

What is more comforting? Katrina with no God in control or Katrina being used by God to fulfill His purposes?

How you answer that question shows what risk you have taken for eternity.

See Joseph's faith in Genesis 50.

Psalm 74:9 You stand up to judge those who do evil, O God, and to rescue the oppressed of the earth. 10 Human opposition only enhances your glory, for you use it as a sword of judgment.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

WIN WIN WIN !

Wow- a great, exciting victory last night! Our players played so hard. We still made a ton of mistakes, but I loved their fire and passion!

I am so humbled. My God is so generous to me.

Did He cause us to win? I can't argue that. He does care about the game and sovereignly uses the outcome for His good purposes.

But reagrdless.... it was pure fun. A thrilling come from behind, down to the last play..WIN.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Game Day

Tonight at 7:00 we get another chance to win after a two week wait. Man, this has been tough. We have a very tough opponent tonight. We will have a packed stadium and the game will be live on TV. we have had good preparation and are OK healthy.

I love gameday. It actually starts for me yesterday, we go out in shorts and rehearse game situations on our gamefield. We then watched our middle school win a good game.

The school relaxed our dress code today, we are wearing jeans and school colors- we will have a pep rally at the end of the school day.

It is just a fun day.

I'm thankful to live in a country where we can do this. At the same time, I will be thinking about New Orleans today and praying.

I hope to report big win in my next post.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

God's Special Treasure

Micah 2:16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and loved to think about him. 17 "They will be my people," says the LORD Almighty. "On the day when I act, they will be my own special treasure. I will spare them as a father spares an obedient and dutiful child. 18 Then you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not."

Oh to be a treasure of the Lord- to be remembered- to be adopted- to be paid for by the blood of Jesus-to be spared- to be His people.


Do we really understand what it means to be in His shelter?

All I can say is a hollow "thanks"- O h Lord, Do I even know to whom I pray? Please translate this limping metaphor of praise.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Big Week- Pressure's ON

We have a big rival this week and desperately need a win. It is a TV game, a region game, a big,big game.

I already feel it and it is just Monday morning. I will not sleep much this week. I have the plays flicker in my brain. My wife will tell me she talked to me, but I did not even register.

Physically, I feel a little nauseus after eating and I get muscle tension in my back. I got up and ran this morning, it does help.

We can beat this team, I just hope my players believe they can.

I have scheduled a good week of practice and we will have a good plan- hurricane Katrina will interrupt us at some point.

This is where I really depend on my Savior, He will carry me through.

Sometimes I wonder if this is worth it- but this is the nature of competition- preparations for battle.

I heard a sad quote yesterday- "God is just an imaginary friend for grown-ups". He will show-up one day and the non-believers will be filled with awe. How about today, Lord?

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Significant Insignificance

Help from: Malcolm Muggeridge on 'Is There a God?"

"What living God? A being with whom one has a relationship, on the one hand, inconceivably more personal than the most intimate human one, to the point that, as we are told, God has actually counted the hairs of each head; on the other, so remote that in order to establish a valid relationship at all, it is necessary to die, to murder one's own flesh with the utmost ferocity, and batter down one's ego as one might a deadly snake, a cobra which has lifted its hooded head with darting forked tongue, to sting."

It is interesting that God can be so close, but entering into that relationship is so costly. How costly? Look at the cross.

"What can be said with certainty is that, once the confrontation (no longer hiding from God) has been experienced—the rocky summit climbed, the interminable desert crossed—an unimaginably delectable vista presents itself, so vast, so luminous, so enchanting, that the small ecstasies of human love, and the small satisfactions of human achievement, by comparison pale into insignificance. Out of tactical despair comes an overwhelming strategic happiness, enfolded in which one is made aware that every aspect of the universe, from a tiny grain of sand to the light-years which measure its immeasurable dimensions, from the minutes" single living cell to the most complex human organism, are ultimately related, all deserving of reverence and respect; all shining, like glow-worms, with an intrinsic light, and, at the same time, caught in an all-encompassing radiance, like dust in a sunbeam."

The greatest irony is that what I do is so insignificant. Is there anything more forgettable than a football game? But it is a significant insignificance because my God is there. He uses every block and tackle to forge stories and characrer for His glory. Lord, just help me to walk faithfully, especially when times are tough.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Warriors in Training

Zech. 10 "6 "I will strengthen Judah and save Israel ; I will reestablish them because I love them. It will be as though I had never rejected them, for I am the LORD their God, who will hear their cries. 7 The people of Israel will become like mighty warriors, and their hearts will be happy as if by wine. Their children, too, will see it all and be glad; their hearts will rejoice in the LORD. 8 When I whistle to them, they will come running, for I have redeemed them."

As a football coach, I am trying to instill a "fighting spirit" to compete- it is not seen much today. We cannot allow ourselves to become so soft that we are not willing to stand and fight for what is right. We are in a war vs. Satan, the world, and our flesh. We need to become tougher and resist with passion.

Christ's love constrains us, His law gives us the proper boundaries, but within that is still the need to fight. Remember His actions in the temple vs. the money changers.

When we experience the peace of Christ and are restored to God, and fight for Him- our hearts become truly happy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Take Heart and Finish

Zech. 8: 1 Then another message came to me from the LORD Almighty: 2 "This is what the LORD Almighty says: My love for Mount Zion is passionate and strong; I am consumed with passion for Jerusalem! 3 And now the LORD says: I am returning to Mount Zion, and I will live in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City; the mountain of the LORD Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain. 4 This is what the LORD Almighty says: Once again old men and women will walk Jerusalem's streets with a cane and sit together in the city squares. 5 And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls at play. 6 "This is what the LORD Almighty says: All this may seem impossible to you now, a small and discouraged remnant of God's people. But do you think this is impossible for me, the LORD Almighty? 7 This is what the LORD Almighty says: You can be sure that I will rescue my people from the east and from the west. 8 I will bring them home again to live safely in Jerusalem. They will be my people, and I will be faithful and just toward them as their God.

9 "This is what the LORD Almighty says: Take heart and finish the task!


The promises of God are sure. I love the truths of this passage. God's love is passionate and strong! He has promised to live in Jerusalem. I believe this to be a promise for the new heaven and earth that will be installed at Christ's 2nd coming.
God wants streets where children play and the elderly are safe.

The present however seems discouraging.. the small remnant. But God is in the business of doing the impossible.

Until then, I need to take heart and fight for the cause of my KING!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Cure for a Downcast Soul

I Chronicles 16:8 Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. 9 Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his miracles. 10 Exult in his holy name; O worshipers of the LORD, rejoice! 11 Search for the LORD and for his strength, and keep on searching. 12 Think of the wonderful works he has done, the miracles, and the judgments he handed down, 13 O children of Israel, God's servant, O descendants of Jacob, God's chosen one. 14 He is the LORD our God. His rule is seen throughout the land. 15 He always stands by his covenant – the commitment he made to a thousand generations.

We lost 36-9 last night. It was the worst loss I have suffered since 1994. I am supposed to be an offensive coach, and we shot nothing but blanks. Our Qb's went 9-39 for 90 yds and 3 INTs- 2 of which were returned for TD's. It hurts.

Then this was my Bible reading this morning. How could I not sing praises to my King? I do give thanks to Him. I will tell of His miracles. I will continue to search for Him for His strength. I will think of the wonderful works he has done.

He always keeps His promises...and they are so good!

talk about a pick me up......Amen

Monday, August 15, 2005

Coming Up Short?

Haggai 1:3 So the LORD sent this message through the prophet Haggai: 4 "Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? 5 This is what the LORD Almighty says: Consider how things are going for you! 6 You have planted much but harvested little. You have food to eat, but not enough to fill you up. You have wine to drink, but not enough to satisfy your thirst. You have clothing to wear, but not enough to keep you warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes! 7 "This is what the LORD Almighty says: Consider how things are going for you! 8 Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored, says the LORD. 9 You hoped for rich harvests, but they were poor. And when you brought your harvest home, I blew it away. Why? Because my house lies in ruins, says the LORD Almighty, while you are all busy building your own fine houses. 10 That is why the heavens have withheld the dew and the earth has withheld its crops. 11 I have called for a drought on your fields and hills – a drought to wither the grain and grapes and olives and all your other crops, a drought to starve both you and your cattle and to ruin everything you have worked so hard to get."

In our land of opportunity and prosperity, depression is at an all-time high. We are busier than ever and have more toys and leisure than any previous generation. But we are drifting from God. We must rebuild the church.

It is not about attendance- it is about content. We must preach and live the truth!

13 Then Haggai, the LORD's messenger, gave the people this message from the LORD: "I am with you, says the LORD!"

4 But now take courage, Zerubbabel, says the LORD. Take courage, Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Take courage, all you people still left in the land, says the LORD. Take courage and work, for I am with you, says the LORD Almighty. 5 My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid. 6 "For this is what the LORD Almighty says: In just a little while I will again shake the heavens and the earth. I will shake the oceans and the dry land, too. 7 I will shake all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will come to this Temple. I will fill this place with glory, says the LORD Almighty. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the LORD Almighty. 9 The future glory of this Temple will be greater than its past glory, says the LORD Almighty. And in this place I will bring peace. I, the LORD Almighty, have spoken!"

God will keep His promises- Oh Father, please send the spark of revival again or better yet- please come back pronto!

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Most Important Piece of Jabez's Prayer

II Chronicles 4:9 There was a man named Jabez who was more distinguished than any of his brothers. His mother named him Jabez because his birth had been so painful. 10 He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and extend my lands! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!" And God granted him his request.

This verse led to a huge best seller- "The Prayer of Jabez"- and it is a wonderful verse. Scripture encourages us to seek the Lord and wrestle with Him in prayer. And Jabez did pray a good prayer.

The most important piece is, however, "God granted".

What if God said. "NO". He has the right to say, "Jabez, for my glory I will not extend your land, I will not relent in trouble or pain."

The thing I love is that I bet Jabez would say, "I am Yours O Lord- do as You wish."

Our blessing and reward will primarily be after this life. He blesses us even now. Grace allows us to breathe and live.

God loves us- and sometimes that love hurts. But it is for our good and His glory!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Help When I am Low

Micah 7:1 What misery is mine! I feel like the fruit picker after the harvest who can find nothing to eat. Not a cluster of grapes or a single fig can be found to satisfy my hunger. 2 The godly people have all disappeared; not one fair-minded person is left on the earth.

7 As for me, I look to the LORD for his help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me. 8 Do not gloat over me, my enemies! For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD himself will be my light. 9 I will be patient as the LORD punishes me, for I have sinned against him. But after that, he will take up my case and punish my enemies for all the evil they have done to me. The LORD will bring me out of my darkness into the light, and I will see his righteousness. 10 Then my enemies will see that the LORD is on my side.

14 O LORD, come and rule your people; lead your flock in green pastures. Help them to live in peace and prosperity.

18 Where is another God like you, who pardons the sins of the survivors among his people? You cannot stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing mercy. 19 Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! 20 You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love as you promised with an oath to our ancestors Abraham and Jacob long ago.

Lord, thank you for lifting me up today- I trust in You- put my enemies-the world, my flesh, and the devil to shame.

My Hero- Hezekiah

2 Kings 18:"1 Hezekiah son of Ahaz began to rule over Judah in the third year of King Hoshea's reign in Israel. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. 3 He did what was pleasing in the LORD's sight, just as his ancestor David had done. 4 He removed the pagan shrines, smashed the sacred pillars, and knocked down the Asherah poles. He broke up the bronze serpent that Moses had made, because the people of Israel had begun to worship it by burning incense to it. The bronze serpent was called Nehushtan. 5 Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was never another king like him in the land of Judah, either before or after his time. 6 He remained faithful to the LORD in everything, and he carefully obeyed all the commands the LORD had given Moses. 7 So the LORD was with him, and Hezekiah was successful in everything he did."

I want to be like this!

Doing what is pleasing in God's sight- notice the action and the motive

Removing idols and turning hearts toward God- toughness and intentionality

Trusting in God- inner peace and strength

Remained faithful- remaining- a focus on persevering a long time

Carefully obeying- study-introspection- commitment to change

God was with him and he had success in everything

What a resume!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Triumphant Procession

II Corin. 2:14 "But thanks be to God, who made us his captives and leads us along in Christ's triumphal procession. Now wherever we go he uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Good News like a sweet perfume. 15 Our lives are a fragrance presented by Christ to God."

Micah 5:4 " 4 And he (the Ruler from Bethlehem- Jesus) will stand to lead his flock with the LORD's strength, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. Then his people will live there undisturbed, for he will be highly honored all around the world. 5 And he will be the source of our peace."

7 "Then the few left in Israel will go out among the nations. They will be like dew sent by the LORD or like rain falling on the grass, which no one can hold back. 8 The remnant of Israel will go out among the nations and be as strong as a lion. And the other nations will be like helpless sheep, with no one to rescue them. 9 The people of Israel will stand up to their foes, and all their enemies will be wiped out."

AMEN- AMEN-AMEN- I AM ON THE WINNING TEAM! AND IT FEELS SO GOOD!

Friday, July 29, 2005

The Worm and Tiger Also

6 And the LORD God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there, and soon it spread its broad leaves over Jonah's head, shading him from the sun. This eased some of his discomfort, and Jonah was very grateful for the plant. 7 But God also prepared a worm!

William Blake asked the question- Did He who made the Lamb also make the Tiger? He could see God in the Lamb. Meek, mild, and tender. But surely not the tiger- that steely killler.

God ordains the shade, but he also prepares the worm.

And it is all to His glory! He is Lord!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A Myriad of Purposes- A Tapestry of Triumph

I Corinthians 12: 5 "There are different kinds of service in the church, but it is the same Lord we are serving. 6 There are different ways God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work through all of us."


Our Bible Department head, Bill Delvaux, has the neatest illustration. He holds up the backside of a beautiful tapestry and reveals all the stitches and thread. It looks like a jumbled mess! But when He turns it around- there is a beautiful handiwork of art.

God is weaving throughout all of history and life experiences, a tapestry of triumph- His GLORY ! It is so complex, that as we look at the individual stitches- the back of the shawl- it seems convoluded and confused.

One family struggles with cancer or depression, another family celebrates the birth of a child. One man finds faith while another curses God to his grave.

One church thrives with excitement while another barely flickers with hope. One city seems to never have a day of change or excitement, while another is bombed almost daily.

Where is God?

He is still at work- spreading His good news of hope! He works in a myriad of different ways- but He alone will triumph.

Come to Christ today, and be a part of His beautiful handiwork!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Where are the Idols?

I Corin. 10: 5 5 Yet after all this, God was not pleased with most of them, and he destroyed them in the wilderness.
6 These events happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did 7 or worship idols as some of them did. For the Scriptures say, "The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged themselves in pagan revelry." 8 And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day. 9 Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. 10 And don't grumble as some of them did, for that is why God sent his angel of death to destroy them. 11 All these events happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us, who live at the time when this age is drawing to a close. 12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you, too, may fall into the same sin. 13 But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it. 14 So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols."

I'm really enjoying the NLT of I Corinthians- Paul is so good and God's Word is so powerful.

This is a great passage. The OT is a reminder to us of God's nature and a warning to us on how to displease the Lord. Even after the people experienced His miracles, in the end, God was not pleased with the people and ended up destroying them.
Why? Because we constantly run to idols-maybe not the wooden ones- but we have them all around.

They are represented in our cravings -

Amos 8: 5" You can't wait for the Sabbath day to be over and the religious festivals to end so you can get back to cheating the helpless." The parallel is that we get restless in the things of God and crave worldly things.

They are represented in our grumblings-

Idols tend to make us spoiled and ungrateful.

Next time in worship ask yourself- what does my mind stray to? Is it sexual desires. or leisure, or work. or worries- Sad to say, I think a lot about football- I need to cast those out- all things must be in subjection to Christ.

By the way- the worst state is pride- if you say " I have no idols"- then you are risking the greatest loss of all- Pride prevents the true cure- the blood of Jesus from covering your idol worship.

So- I have idols- I need to throw them down and flee from my cravings and grumbling- I need to lean on Jesus to help me in my idol worship and my only hope is His great mercy and forgiveness.

God is faithful!

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Valley of Decision

Joel 4:14 Thousands upon thousands are waiting in the valley of decision. It is there that the day of the LORD will soon arrive.

This verse just stuck upon me this morning. It is in the context of all the nations gathering for the last big battle of man. All of his greed, and evil is about to push the winepress over the brink. God will soon begin squashing His grapes of wrath- and no one will be able to stand.

Before the day of the Lord- there is still room, there is still time...but it is fleeting.

You, my friend, are in a valley of decision.

Choose well.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Too Simple

Joel 2:32 And anyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.

Is it that simple? The answer is YES... and NO. All the Lord requires is belief..trust....faith. We call on HIM to save us. We trust Him and not ourselves.

If the Lord required money...only the rich could be saved
If the Lord required secret or special knowledge...only the wise could be saved
if the Lord required our works...only the strong and disciplined could be saved

He requires faith- which makes it possible for all to be saved.

I do not trust my good deeds. I do not trust anything to save me but the Lord Jesus Christ.

I will be before the Lord one day in judgement. When I see His holiness, I will be in total awe. My only hope is the covering of Christ. And He is enough.

Simple for us- impossible for us- Yet He makes the way- It was hard for Him and complex- He has made it very clear to us!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Called to a Friendship

I Corinthians I Comments

"2 We are writing to the church of God in Corinth, you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did all Christians everywhere – whoever calls upon the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and theirs."

Being made holy through Christ- do we really understand how awesome that is? I committed a sin yesterday- I read in the OT this morning how that same sin caused the death of a man of God- yet I am here- alive and writing. Why? Jesus Christ took my death- Oh Forgive me Lord- I have heard that message so many times that I am hard to its true impact! I am alive- I am considered holy in God's eyes! What a Savior!!!

"9 God will surely do this for you, for he always does just what he says, and he is the one who invited you into this wonderful friendship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."

Wow- God keeps His word- He always does what He says- again, in the OT- if He commanded a curse- it always happened- but I am invited to be a friend to His son! It is a wonderful friendship indeed!

"10 Now, dear brothers and sisters, I appeal to you by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ to stop arguing among yourselves. Let there be real harmony so there won't be divisions in the church. I plead with you to be of one mind, united in thought and purpose."

If God has made me holy through Christ- if He has welcomed me into His family- is this too hard to ask- that I be a unifier- and seek real harmony with my brothers in the church? Lord- this one is easy- I forgive others- I look for the good- I speak well of others- I do not participate in gossip or inflamatory criticism- I seek the cause of Christ.

Father, the enemy wants to divide us- please pour out a spirit of unity!

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Gracious Offer of Repentance

Hosea 14:1 Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God, for your sins have brought you down. 2 Bring your petitions, and return to the LORD. Say to him, "Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you the sacrifice of praise. 3 Assyria cannot save us, nor can our strength in battle. Never again will we call the idols we have made 'our gods.' No, in you alone do the orphans find mercy."

4 The LORD says, "Then I will heal you of your idolatry and faithlessness, and my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever! 5 I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. It will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon. 6 Its branches will spread out like those of beautiful olive trees, as fragrant as the cedar forests of Lebanon. 7 My people will return again to the safety of their land. They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines. They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon.

8 "O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who looks after you and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green, giving my fruit to you all through the year." 9 Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those who are discerning listen carefully. The paths of the LORD are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But sinners stumble and fall along the way.

I am amazed how as humans we shrink back from this offer- Some say "I've just been to bad" and don't believe God's word concerning His love- Some say "I just need to hide it from His pure eyes" God saw you and he knows- He doesn't approve,but He is not thrown back- His arms are open- Some say 'I'm too good or I'm not that bad" These are the hardest to reach.

Return to Christ- He forgives- He restores- He loves- He blesses!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Amnesia of the Flesh

Hosea 13:"5 I took care of you in the wilderness, in that dry and thirsty land. 6 But when you had eaten and were satisfied, then you became proud and forgot me."

I Kings 11:1 "Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh's daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites. 2 The LORD had clearly instructed his people not to intermarry with those nations, because the women they married would lead them to worship their gods. Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. 3 He had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. And sure enough, they led his heart away from the LORD."

Our hearts are prone to wander. Some of the finest believers with great intentions and early success have ended up in states of rebellion and sin. How does this happen? I believe it happens slowly, thought by thought, moment by moment.

Is there protection from this? Daily ingestion of God's Word helps. An active prayer life- fellowship in a good, Bible teaching church- allow the Holy Spirit to direct and shine on sin.

Usually leisure and success make us more vulnerable- beware the butterslide of praise.

Father, my heart is continually drifting...anchor me to You and Your truth!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Prayer for America

We had a wonderful 4th- we rode bikes to a local neighborhood parade- went downtown for a festival- and ended up at a park for a concert and fireworks! It was a beautiful to celebrate such a wonderful country- And I live in a great part of the nation- God fearing- family loving, gracious people!

Dear God Our Father,
In this time of great division and danger, we ask that you help us. Not that we deserve it, but we want to continue to be a beacon of hope and a model of success. This life is a mixed bag and a temporary host. May you allow us to continue being a preservative of the natural entropy of order.
Lord, the churches are dark in the old land and selfishness reigns. Intellectual imperialism tickles the ears but salve no wounds. Our churches are flickering. Please revive us- give us soft hearts of love and united hearts of courage. We wimper in our prosperity and hoard our greed.
Be gracious to our leaders and heal our land.
In the name and example of Christ,
AMEN

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Press ON

Hosea 6:"1 "Come, let us return to the LORD! He has torn us in pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. 2 In just a short time, he will restore us so we can live in his presence. 3 Oh, that we might know the LORD! Let us press on to know him!"

I watched the movie, Seabiscuit, again last night- it is a stirring inspiration to press on. When times are tough-just keep digging, clawing, and be patient- good days are ahead. When we are struggling, we learn to lean harder on Him - we become more dependent on HIm, we learn that He is all we need.

Solomon felt unable to carry out his tasks- so he went to the Lord and asked for wisdom- God rewarded that pursuit- we need to press on- the NT tells us to press on toward the high calling of God in Christ.

Press on to God

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Magic of Childhood

Mark10:13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch them and bless them, but the disciples told them not to bother him. 14 But when Jesus saw what was happening, he was very displeased with his disciples. He said to them, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 I assure you, anyone who doesn't have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God." 16 Then he took the children into his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them"

We have been at an amusement park this week with my wife and girls. I love watching their incredible ecitement and joy! They get so excited they can't sit still. That is the magic of childhood- an excitement about life! They are eager and innocent- they look to me to provide and just enjoy the moments!
One morning, my youngest flew over and hugged me- Thanks Dad!- it made me a mile high!

Father- I just wish I could give You a moment like that!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

REST

Mark 6:31 "Then Jesus said, "Let's get away from the crowds for a while and rest."

We are coming up on a 2 week period in TN called the Dead Period- no contact with players. I will use this time for some needed rest!

Thank you Lord for apace in life- for weariness and renewal!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

"The Moment You Began Praying"

Daniel 9:"17 "O our God, hear your servant's prayer! Listen as I plead. For your own sake, Lord, smile again on your desolate sanctuary. 18 "O my God, listen to me and hear my request. Open your eyes and see our wretchedness. See how your city lies in ruins – for everyone knows that it is yours. We do not ask because we deserve help, but because you are so merciful. 19 "O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For your own sake, O my God, do not delay, for your people and your city bear your name."

20 I went on praying and confessing my sin and the sins of my people, pleading with the LORD my God for Jerusalem, his holy mountain. 21 As I was praying, Gabriel, whom I had seen in the earlier vision, came swiftly to me at the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He explained to me, "Daniel, I have come here to give you insight and understanding. 23 The moment you began praying, a command was given. I am here to tell you what it was, for God loves you very much."


What a great passage to encourage prayer!
Daniel's prayer was persistent
Daniel's prayer was penitent

Daniel prayed for God to see,hear,forgive,act- and do it without delay
It was based not on the people deserving this act, but on the good name of God- "Your people bear Your name"

Smile again on us O Lord

Monday, June 20, 2005

An Inspirational Song

Man Of The Tombs - Bob Bennett

Man of the tombs
He lives in a place where no one goes
And he tears at himself
And lives with a pain that no one knows
He counts himself dead among the living
He knows no mercy and no forgiving
Deep in the night he's driven to cry out loud
Can you hear him cry out loud?

Man of the tombs
Possessed by an unseen enemy
He breaks every chain
And mistakes his freedom for being free
Shame and shamelessness equally there
Like a random toss of a coin in the air
Man of the tombs, he's driven to cry out loud

   Underneath this thing that I've become
   A fading memory of flesh and blood
   I curse the womb, I bless the grave
   I've lost my heart, I cannot be saved
   Like those who fear me, I'm afraid
   Like those I've hurt, I can feel pain
   Naked now before my sin
   And these stones that cut against my skin
   Some try to touch me, but no one can
   For man of the tombs I am

Down at the shoreline
Two sets of footprints meet
One voice is screaming
Other voice begins to speak
In only a moment and only a word
The evil departs like a thundering herd
Man of the tombs, he hears this cry out loud

   Underneath this thing that you've become
   I see a man of flesh and blood
   I give you life beyond the grave
   I heal your heart, I come to save
   No need to fear, be not afraid
   This Man of sorrows knows your pain
   I come to take away your sin
   And bear it's marks upon My skin
   When no one can touch you, still I can
   For Son of God I am

Dressed now and seated
Clean in spirit and healthy of mind
Man of the tombs
He begs to follow, but must stay behind
He'll return to has family with stories to tell
Of mercy and madness, of heaven and hell
Man of the tombs, soon he will cry out loud

   Underneath this thing that I once was
   Now I'm a man of flesh and blood
   I have a life beyond the grave
   I found my heart, I can now be saved
   No need to fear, I am not afraid
   This Man of sorrows took my pain
   He comes to take away our sin
   And bear it's marks upon His skin
   I'm telling you this story because
   Man of the tombs I was

A Court Day is Set

Daniel 7:9 "9 I watched as thrones were put in place and the Ancient One sat down to judge. His clothing was as white as snow, his hair like whitest wool. He sat on a fiery throne with wheels of blazing fire, 10 and a river of fire flowed from his presence. Millions of angels ministered to him, and a hundred million stood to attend him. Then the court began its session, and the books were opened."

The supernatural world is real and in operation. Our secular society is so blinded by the enlightenment that we ignore the ancient words of truth. God is King and He is preparing to judge the nations. Are we ready?

My only hope is my Advocate- the Lord Jesus will represent me and offer His life as my atonement. He has ransomed me by His blood. I will be declared justified in the heavenly courts because of the power of the authority of my Savior.

Wow- what a glorious salvation!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

God's Complete Protection and Victory

4 Then the other administrators and princes began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling his affairs, but they couldn't find anything to criticize. He was faithful and honest and always responsible. 5 So they concluded, "Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the requirements of his religion."

6 So at last the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to him, "May your God, whom you worship continually, rescue you."

25 Then King Darius sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world: "Peace and prosperity to you! 26 "I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel. For he is the living God, and he will endure forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed, and his rule will never end. 27 He rescues and saves his people; he performs miraculous signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions." 28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Throughout history, God protects, defends, allows testing, then shows off- all for His glory!

Sin, Shame, and Redemption

II Samuel 11:27 b "But the LORD was very displeased with what David had done."

II Samuel 12: "7 Then Nathan said to David, "You are that man! The LORD, the God of Israel, says, 'I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. 8 I gave you his house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more. 9 Why, then, have you despised the word of the LORD and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah and stolen his wife. 10 From this time on, the sword will be a constant threat to your family, because you have despised me by taking Uriah's wife to be your own. 11 "'Because of what you have done, I, the LORD, will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man, and he will go to bed with them in public view. 12 You did it secretly, but I will do this to you openly in the sight of all Israel.'" 13 Then David confessed to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD."Nathan replied, "Yes, but the LORD has forgiven you, and you won't die for this sin. 14 But you have given the enemies of the LORD great opportunity to despise and blaspheme him, so your child will die."

19 But when David saw them whispering, he realized what had happened. "Is the baby dead?" he asked."Yes," they replied. 20 Then David got up from the ground, washed himself, put on lotions, and changed his clothes. Then he went to the Tabernacle and worshiped the LORD. After that, he returned to the palace and ate. 21 His advisers were amazed. "We don't understand you," they told him. "While the baby was still living, you wept and refused to eat. But now that the baby is dead, you have stopped your mourning and are eating again." 22 David replied, "I fasted and wept while the child was alive, for I said, 'Perhaps the LORD will be gracious to me and let the child live.' 23 But why should I fast when he is dead? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me."

24 Then David comforted Bathsheba, his wife, and slept with her. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The LORD loved the child 25 and sent word through Nathan the prophet that his name should be Jedidiah – "beloved of the LORD" – because the LORD loved him."

Sin kills and destroys
Sin has consequences
Disobedience is punished
God's forgiveness is complete

Saturday, June 18, 2005

The Last Few Days of Reading

II Sam 7:11 "'And now the LORD declares that he will build a house for you – a dynasty of kings! 12 For when you die, I will raise up one of your descendants, and I will make his kingdom strong. 13 He is the one who will build a house – a temple – for my name. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. If he sins, I will use other nations to punish him. 15 But my unfailing love will not be taken from him as I took it from Saul, whom I removed before you. 16 Your dynasty and your kingdom will continue for all time before me, and your throne will be secure forever.'"

That passage about Saul and God pulling His spirit from him really shook me up. What a terrible curse- here is a promise to David to not withdraw His spirit from his descendant- an implication that Solomon was spared when he drifted through foreign wives. I hold to this as a promise as a spiritual descendant of David!

This was another example of how the LORD made David victorious wherever he went.II Sam 8:14. Father, I desire Your victory- in all of life!

Daniel 4:37 "Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble those who are proud.- God's praise rings out through all of history!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

A Voice of Praise

Daniel 2:"Then Daniel praised the God of heaven, 20 saying, "Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he alone has all wisdom and power. 21 He determines the course of world events; he removes kings and sets others on the throne. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. 22 He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he himself is surrounded by light. 23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors, for you have given me wisdom and strength."

This morning, I hear many praises to God. My parakeet is chirping to the glory of God. I hear Christiam music echoing glory to God. I read Daniel's praise and my heart is stirred.

Thank you My God for mountains of blessings! They are too numerous to count!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Do it Right

I Sam 26"6  7 So David and Abishai went right into Saul's camp and found him asleep, with his spear stuck in the ground beside his head. Abner and the warriors were lying asleep around him. 8 "God has surely handed your enemy over to you this time!" Abishai whispered to David. "Let me thrust that spear through him. I'll pin him to the ground, and I won't need to strike twice!" 9 "No!" David said. "Don't kill him. For who can remain innocent after attacking the LORD's anointed one? 10 Surely the LORD will strike Saul down someday, or he will die in battle or of old age. 11 But the LORD forbid that I should kill the one he has anointed! But I'll tell you what – we'll take his spear and his jug of water and then get out of here!" 12 So David took the spear and jug of water that were near Saul's head. Then he and Abishai got away without anyone seeing them or even waking up, because the LORD had put Saul's men into a deep sleep.

13 David climbed the hill opposite the camp until he was at a safe distance. 14 Then he shouted down to Abner and Saul, "Wake up, Abner!""Who is it?" Abner demanded. 15 "Well, Abner, you're a great man, aren't you?" David taunted. "Where in all Israel is there anyone as mighty? So why haven't you guarded your master the king when someone came to kill him? 16 This isn't good at all! I swear by the LORD that you and your men deserve to die, because you failed to protect your master, the LORD's anointed! Look around! Where are the king's spear and the jug of water that were beside his head?" 17 Saul recognized David's voice and called out, "Is that you, my son David?"And David replied, "Yes, my lord the king. 18 Why are you chasing me? What have I done? What is my crime? 19 But now let my lord the king listen to his servant. If the LORD has stirred you up against me, then let him accept my offering. But if this is simply a human scheme, then may those involved be cursed by the LORD. For you have driven me from my home, so I can no longer live among the LORD's people and worship as I should. 20 Must I die on foreign soil, far from the presence of the LORD? Why has the king of Israel come out to search for a single flea? Why does he hunt me down like a partridge on the mountains?"

21 Then Saul confessed, "I have sinned. Come back home, my son, and I will no longer try to harm you, for you valued my life today. I have been a fool and very, very wrong." 22 "Here is your spear, O king," David replied. "Let one of your young men come over and get it. 23 The LORD gives his own reward for doing good and for being loyal, and I refused to kill you even when the LORD placed you in my power, for you are the LORD's anointed one. 24 Now may the LORD value my life, even as I have valued yours today. May he rescue me from all my troubles." 25 And Saul said to David, "Blessings on you, my son David. You will do heroic deeds and be a great conqueror." Then David went away, and Saul returned home."

David had remarkable courage- going right into Saul's camp. He had opportunity and a good excuse. He was even getting counsel to do the deed.

But David chose right this time and God blessed him. Saul proclaimed that he would do heroic deeds and have great victories.

Lord- I want to honor You and have great victories for You!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

What I Said to My Team

We had a coach yesterday announce he is going to another school. I wanted to keep a log of what I said to some hurting young men.

1- It is OK to hurt- it is how you respond to the pain that is important
2- We pray for this coach, accept his decision as God's will
3- It does not create anger toward the school that hired him
4- You never know what will turn out to be a blessing
5- Get up, dust off, and get back to work

We closed in prayer- and got back to work

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

God's Part- My Part

I Sam 28:14 "David now stayed in the strongholds of the wilderness and in the hill country of Ziph. Saul hunted him day after day, but God didn't let him be found."

I have really enjoyed I Sam.- a strange and fascinating book! David was shrewd and courageous. He was a warrior, but also a man of compassion.

As Saul was seeking to destroy him, David had to work at hiding- He had to plan and gave great effort to avoid Saul. But God was the one doing the protecting.

We work as if it all depends on us- we pray and trust like it all depends on God.

I was talking to my mechanic, Andy, about the world and its troubles. I said, "we really need to pray."
He said, "We better do more than pray."

And Andy was right!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Is Your God Big Enough?

Rom. 11:33 "Oh, what a wonderful God we have! How great are his riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his methods! 34 For who can know what the Lord is thinking? Who knows enough to be his counselor? 35 And who could ever give him so much that he would have to pay it back? 36 For everything comes from him; everything exists by his power and is intended for his glory. To him be glory evermore. Amen."

The God of the Bible has incredible attributes:
He owns all
He is eternally wise
He is sovereign and in control
He is above our human frailties
He has sacrificed for us- His own Son

Everything is held together by Him and everything gives Him glory.

One day, he will end history- and we will see that everything was ordained to glorify Him!

I want my salvation to bring Him this glory.

To my readers- you will glorify HIm- either as objects of salvation or objects of wrath. Please turn your heart to Him today!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Victory Laps of Praise

The verses this morning were so encouraging- and I needed them!

"So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 For the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death." Romans 8:1,2

I sin so much. I read in the OT where God will cut off someone and remove His spirit from them. It happened to Saul. I don't want to live in disobedience and am so thankful for grace. I want more of Your Spirit- pour it out on our land!

"28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."

This verse is so key for me. When I am disappointed, I trust in Him! He knows what He is about. History is his story. He holds me firmly and His plan is victory!

"despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us." WoW! A great promise!

"47 And everyone will know that the LORD does not need weapons to rescue his people. It is his battle, not ours. The LORD will give you to us! I Sam 17" Lord- You are my only hope!


"5 I wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. 6 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. 7 My salvation and my honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
8 O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge. Psalm 62"

When the world seems to line up against me- when news seems disappointing- when momentum seems stalled- I sit here Lord...the victory is Yours- I wait for YOU!

Monday, May 30, 2005

Every Day a WIN!

Romans5:"1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory. 3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us – they help us learn to endure. 4 And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. 5 And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love."

What does each day bring? Some days are exciting days of the sweetness of life. God gives these days- wonderful memories of family, experience, or achievement. Some days are painful, even tragic. These days are evidence of the curse of sin- I am a sinful man among sinful people. We experience brokenness, sickness, cancer, strained relationships and decay. Some days are just normal, forgettable days- but every day is a SPECIAL day.

It is special because of this wonderful "Therefore"- MADE RIGHT WITH GOD- WOOOHOOO! PEACE WITH GOD! YEAHHHH!

Wow- Paul wrote this in chains and with a body wracked with pain and scars. Yet he says, "privilege"- condidence- joy-rejoice- This is no "pie in the sky Art Linkletter stuff" this is true- EVERY DAY IS A WIN- whether good or bad, happy or sad! That makes me FIRED UP!

The hard days are blessing us with endurance of confident expectations! GOD LOVES US! WOOO HOOOOO! MY HEART IS FULL OF LOVE! AMEN- BLESS THE LORD FOR THIS SALVATION!!!!!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Furnace of Faith

Romans4:"20 Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was absolutely convinced that God was able to do anything he promised. 22 And because of Abraham's faith, God declared him to be righteous.
23 Now this wonderful truth – that God declared him to be righteous – wasn't just for Abraham's benefit. 24 It was for us, too, assuring us that God will also declare us to be righteous if we believe in God, who brought Jesus our Lord back from the dead. 25 He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised from the dead to make us right with God."

I keep coming back to this wonderful section. God is glorified when we are secure in HIm. He will do what He says. The bleaker the circumstance, the less likely it is to be true, the more that faith is formed, the more that God is glorified.

Contrast this to King Saul when he couldn't wait on Samuel.
I Sam. 13 "11 but Samuel said, "What is this you have done?"Saul replied, "I saw my men scattering from me, and you didn't arrive when you said you would, and the Philistines are at Micmash ready for battle. 12 So I said, 'The Philistines are ready to march against us, and I haven't even asked for the LORD's help!' So I felt obliged to offer the burnt offering myself before you came." 13 "How foolish!" Samuel exclaimed. "You have disobeyed the command of the LORD your God. Had you obeyed, the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your dynasty must end, for the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart. The LORD has already chosen him to be king over his people, for you have not obeyed the LORD's command."

Father, please help the circumstances of doubt and darkness forge a faith that pleases You! I do not want to be like Saul, always jumping to my flesh of control because of fear-I want to be an Abraham, trusting in You when it seems all is lost! You show Yourself to be the great Victor in those moments! It is more glorious to win when the war seems bleakest! My God and My KING!

Friday, May 27, 2005

The New Jew? A Paraphrase of Romans 2

17 If you are an Evangelical, you are relying on a knowledge of God's word for your special relationship with him. You boast that all is well between yourself and God. 18 Yes, you know what he wants; you know right from wrong because you have been taught his law. 19 You are convinced that you are a guide for the blind and a beacon light for people who are lost in darkness without God. 20 You think you can instruct the ignorant and teach children the ways of God. For you are certain that in God's law you have complete knowledge and truth. 21 Well then, if you teach others, why don't you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal? 22 You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you do it? You condemn idolatry, but do you steal from pagan temples? 23 You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it. 24 No wonder the Scriptures say, "The world blasphemes the name of God because of you." 25 The Evangelical ceremony of baptism is worth something only if you obey God's law. But if you don't obey God's law, you are no better off than an unbaptized sinner. 26 And if the sinners obey God's law, won't God give them all the rights and honors of being his own people? 27 In fact, unbaptized sinners who keep God's law will be much better off than you evangelicals who are baptized and know so much about God's law but don't obey it. 28 For you are not a true believer just because you were born to evangelical parents or because you have gone through the evangelical ceremony of baptism. 29 No, a true believer is one whose heart is right with God. And true baptism is not an outward show but a change of heart produced by God's Spirit. Whoever has that kind of change seeks praise from God, not from people.

Oh Lord- I know I steal- I know my heart can be so far away from You! Please allow Your Spirit to continue our relationship of truth and love- not just going through the motions. Please be real to my children!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Spring Football - the Final Report

A blessed and profitable spring! Virtually injury free and a lot of fun. We were a little more physical and there is no comparison to where we were last year mentally.
We played a little intersquad scrimmage last Saturday with officials- big crowd and great weather!

Now the summer- 6 weeks of work to wall to wall football.

Without You Lord- there is no chance! We need to become warriors and brothers!

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Psalm 52:8b" I trust in God's unfailing love forever and ever. 9 I will praise you forever, O God, for what you have done. I will wait for your mercies in the presence of your people."

In a society of microwave moments, it is hard to find God's timing. In the light of eternity, even the span of our lives is only a vapor. So we pray and wait. God is not slow, He is not late, He is seldom early. He is right on perfect time.

My best place is to trust. I have great confidence in God to fulfill His promises. His love is unfailing.

So we wait. God's people expect You to continually demonstrate Your glory! Thank you for mercy!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Set Apart

Acts 26:15 "'Who are you, sir?' I asked."And the Lord replied, 'I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. 16 Now stand up! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and my witness. You are to tell the world about this experience and about other times I will appear to you. 17 And I will protect you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am going to send you to the Gentiles, 18 to open their eyes so they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God's people, who are set apart by faith in me."

Here in Paul's defense we get a beautiful picture of the gospel (good news). As enemies of God we deserve to be set apart for destruction. I am a gentile, who used to live in darkness and was held firm in the power of Satan. Through the message of Christ, I am now set apart for the glory of God. He opened my eyes and transferred me from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of light! I have received forgiveness and have been given a place in the house of God. All of this confirmed by faith- trusting in Christ to keep these promises (assurance of things hoped for and the evidence of these promises even when not seen).

My prayer is that you will do the same. All of my blessings are undeserved- you can be set apart for these blessings today. It's time to turn to Jesus Christ. He is a wonderful protector and provider!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Naomi's Trail of Tears

Ruth1: 8" But on the way, Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go back to your mothers' homes instead of coming with me. And may the LORD reward you for your kindness to your husbands and to me. 9 May the LORD bless you with the security of another marriage." Then she kissed them good-bye, and they all broke down and wept.
16 But Ruth replied, "Don't ask me to leave you and turn back. I will go wherever you go and live wherever you live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. 17 I will die where you die and will be buried there. May the LORD punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!" 18 So when Naomi saw that Ruth had made up her mind to go with her, she stopped urging her.

19 So the two of them continued on their journey. When they came to Bethlehem, the entire town was stirred by their arrival. "Is it really Naomi?" the women asked. 20 "Don't call me Naomi," she told them. "Instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. 21 I went away full, but the LORD has brought me home empty. Why should you call me Naomi when the LORD has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy?""


"I am back in Bethlehem, I have heard that God's blessings still exist. It seems that it always retreats from me.
The day I left, as I stepped on the threshhold, all the memories of this land overwhelmed me. The short moments of happiness with my husband and sons are now only reminders of my pain.
I tried to send the daughters back, maybe they can recover from the mourning and grief. Ruth refused.

We all just sat there and cried.

I used to be so happy,but my soul is lifeless because of the pain. Even the warm welcome seemed useless. My friends looked at me strangely when I told them to call me bitter. Why has God made me suffer? Ruth just quietly watches me. It almost seems that she is praying. I used to believe like that. But now I know, there is no hope for me."

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Source of Sweetest Victory

Psalm 44: 3 "They did not conquer the land with their swords; it was not their own strength that gave them victory. It was by your mighty power that they succeeded; it was because you favored them and smiled on them. 4 You are my King and my God. You command victories for your people. 5 Only by your power can we push back our enemies; only in your name can we trample our foes. 6 I do not trust my bow; I do not count on my sword to save me. 7 It is you who gives us victory over our enemies; it is you who humbles those who hate us. 8 O God, we give glory to you all day long and constantly praise your name."

As I coach, I'm into winning. Winning is not the most important thing, but we do keep score. I have a great opportunity into the lives of my players because they see my commitment to success. If they follow me, then I have a chance to direct them to follow the Savior.

But I hope I never forget who truly gives the victory. He loves us, protects us, and provides for us. He allows defeat to be used even as a blessing!

O God my King, command today great victories for Your church throughout the whole world!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Always Alert

Judges 18"7 So the five men went on to the town of Laish, where they noticed the people living carefree lives, like the Sidonians; they were peaceful and secure. The people were also wealthy because their land was very fertile. And they lived a great distance from Sidon and had no allies nearby. 8 When the men returned to Zorah and Eshtaol, their relatives asked them, "What did you find?" 9 The men replied, "Let's attack! We have seen the land, and it is very good. You should not hesitate to go and take possession of it. 10 When you get there, you will find the people living carefree lives. God has given us a spacious and fertile land, lacking in nothing!"

Times of most comfort allow for lapses of calamity. Our enemies are always on the prowl. Isn't it sad, the condition of the human heart? One of my biggest faith builders is that the Bible is the only source that explains and represents the true human condition. I see jealousy and covetousness everyday- I am suseptible of both.

Later on these men come with smiles on their face and evil intentions in their heart.

Lord, give us discernment- but mostly provide protection. Without You- there is no hope. It is like stopping the tide or preventing the rain.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Habits of Hollow Holiness

Judges 10:6 "Again the Israelites did evil in the LORD's sight. They worshiped images of Baal and Ashtoreth, and the gods of Aram, Sidon, Moab, Ammon, and Philistia. Not only this, but they abandoned the LORD and no longer served him at all."

The Israelites are just like us. The slide is gradual. It's not like in January they serve the Lord and in March they switch to idols. Instead it is a gradual wandering. Notice the above verse- they worship and then they abandon and no longer serve at all. This indicates that for a while they try to serve both. For a while, God is there with the idols. But the idols always crowd out the Lord.

Eventually, the people of God do evil right in God's presense.

Our idols? Images (entertainment, fashion)- The gods of materialism, substance abuse, leisure, social status, political agendas, covetousness.

We serve these gods because we think they bring fortune, fame, power, and pleasure. We think they are secure and worthy of our tireless service.

Lord, help me keep good things from becoming idols. May you reign above all- including my family and football. Through Your Spirit, help me serve YOU!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Winning Edges Pt 3- Learning to Love

Matthews24:3 "Later, Jesus sat on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and asked, "When will all this take place? And will there be any sign ahead of time to signal your return and the end of the world?"
4 Jesus told them, "Don't let anyone mislead you. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Messiah.' They will lead many astray. 6 And wars will break out near and far, but don't panic. Yes, these things must come, but the end won't follow immediately. 7 The nations and kingdoms will proclaim war against each other, and there will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. 8 But all this will be only the beginning of the horrors to come. 9 "Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because of your allegiance to me. 10 And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. 11 And many false prophets will appear and will lead many people astray. 12 Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. 13 But those who endure to the end will be saved."

II Timothy3:1 "You should also know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control; they will be cruel and have no interest in what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act as if they are religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly."

Our biggest weakness, in my opinion, is a lack of love for one another.
Part of this is cultural- we live in selfish times where we have lost the true meaning of love. We make fun of each other, we get jealous, we love things more than people.
How do you love better? You spend time together- sweat, work, hurt, and bleed together. You learn to forgive others. I forgive all the time and need forgiveness all the time.

We keep our matters private and special within our group. Other students are your friends- your football team mates are your brothers.

You learn to pray for one another. You don’t have to showboat on the field because your brothers come over and celebrate a great play with you.

Your brothers hold you accountable to live right. You find worthwhile and fun things to do together.

Even better: you fight for a position and lose to another teammate-because you love the team and the brothers- you pull for that guy to do well. All my state championship teams has had that happen.

If you cannot seek to love these team players and coaches- please do not stay in this family. But remember Jesus’ command- ‘love one another’.

Winning Edges Pt 2- Learning to Battle

Judges 3:1 "The LORD left certain nations in the land to test those Israelites who had not participated in the wars of Canaan. 2 He did this to teach warfare to generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle.
10 The Spirit of the LORD came upon him (Othniel), and he became Israel's judge. He went to war against King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram, and the LORD gave Othniel victory over him. 11 So there was peace in the land for forty years.
27 When he arrived in the hill country of Ephraim, Ehud sounded a call to arms. Then he led a band of Israelites down from the hills. 28 "Follow me," he said, "for the LORD has given you victory over Moab your enemy." So they followed him. And the Israelites took control of the shallows of the Jordan River across from Moab, preventing anyone from crossing. 29 They attacked the Moabites and killed about ten thousand of their strongest and bravest warriors. Not one of them escaped. 30 So Moab was conquered by Israel that day, and the land was at peace for eighty years."

One thing that sets football apart from any other sport is putting on armor and going to war. It is not natural. I remember being so afraid at times playing football- but I faced my fear and became more of a man.

This life requires learning to fight. One day you may have to fight for a job, for your wife, fight against disease or a tough situation. You may have to fight for your faith. Jesus was a great fighter. He used tough words against the Pharisees, he fashioned a whip and drove out the money changers, he carried a cross up the mountain bleeding and hurting for me.

Becoming a champion means- learning to battle. Become a warrior in training!

To My Wife on Mother's Day 2005

You are the hardest working and best mom I have ever known. As much as I love my mom, you shine above and beyond.

I hope you remember why I chose you. I liked your realness- you were tough- not like those air head types that would fall apart at the drop of a hat- you knew how to work hard- you could dish it out and take it-but you also were tender- you were a person of excellence.

Those attributes have made you a great wife and a wonderful mom. You are a compassionate mom- you get teary eyed after a tough day of discipline. You are a warrior mom- you fight against all the sin all the time- I like that! You are an energetic mom- you work me in the ground with your tireless pace- I love that and admire that.

You have high standards…maybe even impossible- but I like that- you challenge us to be above ordinary.

You are a praying mom- a devoted mom- an outstanding mom

The fruit of your labor is obvious. All the diapers and dishes, all the van rides and parties, all the financial strain and sleepless nights…is all worth it

Our family is whole and solid- balanced and fun. Our children are beautiful testimonies to the power of the Christian family. I love our family- it is because of you and God’s favor!

On this special week and a special day- May the peace of Christ let you soak in some blessing.

Knowing you- you will be back fighting again on Monday!

Winning Edges Pt 1- Leadership and Followership

Judges 4:24 "And from that time on Israel became stronger and stronger against King Jabin, until they finally destroyed him.
5:1 On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this song: 2 "When Israel's leaders take charge, and the people gladly follow – bless the LORD!"

A friend of mine says quite frequently, "Everything rises and falls on leadership." This is a true statement. Leaders take charge. I love leaders who make decisions based on principles of virtue and stand- even if the whole world stands against them.

But also notice the value of "followership". We need to honor the God-ordained authority in our lives and follow "with glad hearts". It means that I do not need to question every motive. I follow in the peace of God.

When leaders lead and followers follow- bless the Lord. It honors God.

"How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity"- Psalm 133:1 It is like an abundance of blessings than runs above and beyond imagination. (Paraphrase 2 and 3).

This is a winning edge against the opponents in our lives.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Fight of Faith

Judges 3:1 The LORD left certain nations in the land to test those Israelites who had not participated in the wars of Canaan. 2 He did this to teach warfare to generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle.

10 The Spirit of the LORD came upon him (Othniel), and he became Israel's judge. He went to war against King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram, and the LORD gave Othniel victory over him. 11 So there was peace in the land for forty years.

27 When he arrived in the hill country of Ephraim, Ehud sounded a call to arms. Then he led a band of Israelites down from the hills. 28 "Follow me," he said, "for the LORD has given you victory over Moab your enemy." So they followed him. And the Israelites took control of the shallows of the Jordan River across from Moab, preventing anyone from crossing. 29 They attacked the Moabites and killed about ten thousand of their strongest and bravest warriors. Not one of them escaped. 30 So Moab was conquered by Israel that day, and the land was at peace for eighty years

This will be an interesting post to see if I can land on the balance of truth. We are losing two huge skills in our land today- the ability to love and the ability to fight.

Jesus did both so well. He loved with great compassion, but He also knew how to attack sin- verbally (vs the Pharisees) and physically (turning the tables on the money changers). The crucifixion was an act of incredible fight.

Jesus predicted that in the last days that "the love of most will grow cold" and He also predicted that many would "fall away from the faith". A lack of love and a lack of a fighting spirit.

One of the things I love about football is that it teaches both at the same time. The passage in udges brings out two very interesting points. God allowed enemies to teach the Israelites how to fight. You have to be able to fight in this world of sin. The passage also points out that after great victories, the land is at peace.

Lord, teach us the right way to love and the best way to fight!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Spring Football pt 3

Practice begins a week from today and we are beginning to give out equipment. I'm not sure how many we will have out because of baseball, track, and soccer- but I do think that it will be worth it. We have such a long way to go that it is hard to not get discouraged. I feel like I am fighting a battle everyday- there are so many distractions and the kids today are very soft and selfish- all this works against the building of a team.
I'm going to stay energized and focused- and I'm praying like crazy for God's blessings.
I'll check back soon and give an update-