Think about such things

Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is   

True – exact or accurate formation, position, or adjustment; real; genuine; authentic  

Noble – of an exalted moral or mental character or excellence:  

Right – in accordance with what is good, proper, or just  

Pure – clear; free from blemishes; free from anything of a different, inferior, or contaminating kind; free from extraneous matter; of unmixed descent or ancestry  

Lovely – charmingly or exquisitely beautiful; having a beauty that appeals to the heart or mind as well as to the eye; delightful; highly pleasing  

Admirable – worthy of admiration; inspiring approval, reverence, or affection.  

Excellent – possessing outstanding quality or superior merit; remarkably good  

Praiseworthy – deserving of praise; laudable  

—think about such things.   Philippians 4:8  

  Having been in the military and now working in a field where one is exposed to some of the worst society has to offer, I am often exposed to unpure, unwholesome things. Admittedly, at times, I find myself falling into old habits and allow those things to permeate my thoughts and even come out of my mouth. But … the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.” Matthew 15:18. There are many sayings related to … trash in, trash out … and I believe that is true, but ultimately we just need to stand up for what we know is right and live our daily lives for Him who deserves on what is righteous and pure!

‘But I am not ashamed, because I know the One I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12  

2 Peter 1:12 says, “Therefore I will always remind you about these things, even though you know them and are established in the truth you have.”    

He’s Still On The Throne

“Be gracious to me, God, be gracious to me, for I take refuge in You. I will seek refuge in the shadow of Your wings until danger passes. I call to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me. He reaches down from heaven and saves me, challenging the one who tramples me. Psalm 57: 1-3 “God, be exalted above the heavens; let Your glory be over the whole earth.” 57:5 Allow me this time to shout praises to the One who saved this soul, and yours from the depths of hell. Though we are limited in movement, we are safe and at peace. I will pray for those who live on things like carriers, and now have this virus moving through it. I pray for those who live in the midst of a sea of people, unable to do social distancing, and are facing the crisis so much more so than I, who lives in the country. But nevertheless, all of us are affected by this in one way or another, and it could get worse. But when we seek refuge in the shadow of our Lord’s wings, He still reaches down from heaven, and saves us. He is with the infected, He is with the one who is not, and with the one who waits with those affected. His presence is felt over the whole earth. Some may complain and ask, Why God? But I will not question the God of the Universe, who delights in our salvation! Pastor Andy

Walk In Wisdom

On Sunday, my wife and I decided to do a scavenger hunt! Unfortunately, it wasn’t for fun things like hidden treasure, pirate’s booty or accessories for my truck! We were search of the elusive … toilet paper, hand sanitizer and eggs!!! We literally went to every store in our area and found NONE! We did make it our goal to buy something from each store which was fun! At one of the stores, my wife asked the 16 (or so) year old cashier when their trucks came in and if they would have toilet paper because, she explained, she can go without food, but toilet paper is a whole other issue!!! The cashier, looking over each shoulder like he was going to provide us with some piece of classified information, whispered, “6am, everyday, there will be toilet paper!” As you can imagine … I was up at 0-Dark-Thirty on my way to the rendezvous under the cover of darkness!

We have seen the videos of people fighting over items like toilet paper and couldn’t believe that this is what our country has come to! Covid19 doesn’t even cause symptoms consistent with requiring 400 rolls of TP! God NEVER ceases to amaze! In the midst of all of the chaos, He provided peace. When our country, even the world, is fearing scarcity, He reminds us that He is Jehovah Jireh, “the Lord will provide”!

The Lord reminds us many times in his Word that He is in control and we are to trust in Him:

Psalm 20:7 – Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Proverbs 11:28 states, “Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf. And in Proverbs 28:26 we are told, “Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.”

Let us keep our eyes where they belong … on Him … and keep lifting up those around us who do not believe and are fearful! I believe the Lord will use this time to grow the church and I believe He is wanting me specifically to do something to grow from it! I pray we each hear from Him and follow through with His leading!

I’m not 20 anymore!

Last week I ran the Yellow Brick Road with a class. The YBR is about six miles through the woods, on the road and over numerous obstacles. I thought I was physically prepared … the next day my body said otherwise!!! The below is a segment of a devotional by Pastor Andy as he was dealing with similar physical ailments! I can so relate!

“And we exhort you, brothers: warn those who are irresponsible, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all. Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Don’t stifle the Spirit. Don’t despise prophecies, but test all things. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:14-22 So if you are having a tough time getting going today, praise Him, for there is always someone who has it worse off than you. Rejoice that we have the comfort in Jesus to walk through another day; be thankful for the Lord is good, and every muscle that aches, every joint that is screaming at you, every thought that makes you want to try to go back in bed, is a praise that you have the ability to live for the faith one more day. Let the Spirit flow in you, so that you can do all things, even when your mind thinks it is impossible right now. Plan another task, and prepare for the next full opportunity to work those kinks out.

Writings In The Sand

One of the most convicting statements said by Jesus is, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.” He said this to the scribes and the Pharisees who brought a woman caught in adultery to Him, and made her stand before Him: “Teacher,’ they said to Him, ‘This woman was caught in the act of committing adultery, In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do You say?’ They asked this to trap Him, in order that they might have evidence to accuse Him. Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with His finger. When they persisted in questioning Him, He stood up and said to them, ‘The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.”  John 8:4-7  I have always wondered what Jesus was writing on the ground. Was it the sins of those present? It must have been something very personal, for each one, starting from the oldest, got up and left one by one. No one was left to convict the woman. The reason this is convicting to me is because of the many times I prejudge people, yet when I listen to the Spirit, I realize that I am guilty of too many sins to be a judge of another. The words are like a knife that cuts to the depth of my soul, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone.”
Yet the practice continues, for we have gotten fairly good at justifying our own sin, while judging that of others. The Apostle Paul would write to the Galatians: “Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you also won’t be tempted. Carry one another’s burdens: in this way you  will fulfill the law of Christ.”  Galatians 6:1-2  First off, we don’t have the right to judge the world, only God does, yet we are to evaluate our brothers and sisters in the faith, but all the while making sure that what we are evaluating is not the same issues that we have, that we keep hidden.  In other words.  “You who are without sin, cast the first stone.”

Don’t worry! Get a puppy!

I received this  from a friend, Pastor Andy! I love the message and, in the interest of alleviating anxiety, included a humorous video below!

Did I tell you about my new dog?  She is trained as a support dog. She is really smart and obeys commands, but being an emotional support dog, I think she is the one who needs emotional support. She gets pretty excited when we have to leave, and after returning, she  is so happy, she bounces around all over the floor. I need to make her lay down and calmly stroke her.  Yep! I think she is the one who needs the support.  But she got me thinking about those who need an emotional support dog.  The need is rising and more and more people are turning to pets to get their emotional support.  But for those with anxiety, I’d like to share with you what Jesus said to His disciples: “Therefore I tell you, don’t worry about your life, what you will eat; or about the body, what you will wear. For life is more than food and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: They don’t sow or reap; they don’t have a storeroom or a barn; yet God feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than the birds? Can any of you add a cubit to his height by worrying? If then you’re not able to do even a little thing, why worry about the rest?”  Luke 12: 22-26  Jesus tells us NOT to worry, but it seems for some, to pass right by them, for they worry all the time, over little things, such as daily activities, or their things.  Now telling a worrier NOT to worry is like spitting in the wind, it doesn’t work. But if it doesn’t, why would Jesus say, to stop worrying?  It’s because worry is something that can be controlled by choice. I worry because I choose to worry. Things that I worry about are things that are more important to me than not worrying. Yet, I would like to offer a little solution. Hopefully, this will help those who constantly worry. If worry is a choice, and I choose worrying, what would make me stop. I would need to fill my thoughts with something other than worry. For worry to bother you, you have to be filled with anxiety over something that seems important to you that you are struggling with control over. Let it go! Fill your thoughts with the One who will take your anxiety away from you. And you won’t need a support dog.  Support dogs sense when their masters are going into an anxiety attack and they will lick the face, or in the case of my dog, nibble on the ear.  Something to take the mind off the things we worry about and place it on the dog.  Why not place it in Jesus, the Author and finisher of our faith? Why not place all our cares and burdens on Him for He is the burden taker, and the peacemaker. He will set your heart free from the curse of worry.  But we have to make the choice of filling ourselves with Him instead of worry.  Jesus would go on to tell the disciples: ” But seek His kingdom, and these things will be provided for you. Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights in giving you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Make money bags for yourselves that won’t grow old, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 12:31-34  We worry because of things; we worry because of circumstances; we worry because we want something we don’t have, but we want it for the wrong reasons.  Let’s put our focus on what is truly important, that is Christ in us, and seek the true treasure that awaits us, eternity.  Much better than a support dog.

So Sleepy

Have you ever had the problem of falling asleep when you are praying?  I have literally drifted off to sleep while immersed in prayer. I felt guilty, but it seemed like the more I tried to stay awake, the more I drifted off once again.  But then I remember the story in Luke about Jesus going to the Mount of Olives to pray. He took His disciples with Him, but left them a short distance from where He would go, and told them this: “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Luke 22:40 Why would He want them to pray that they would not enter into temptation when He was literally praying for strength from the Father for the time that was upon Him?  He knew their physical weaknesses, and the very fact that tiredness itself can lead one into temptation. After all it’s a physical weakness. We all need so much sleep at night, some more than others, but sleep is necessary for the body to remain strong. Falling asleep while trying to pray may not be a temptation, but it reveals the weakness of the body, and it is in times of weakness that we falter into temptations. How many times have you not gotten the sleep that your body needs, only to wake feeling awful, or perhaps angry, and you don’t even know the reason why.  But back to the inability of the disciples to stay awake and pray. Jesus went off to pray by Himself, and this is recorded the way He prayed: “Then an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. Being in anguish, He prayed more fervently, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground. When He got up from prayer and came to the disciples, He found them sleeping, exhausted from their grief. Why are you sleeping? He asked them, ‘Get up and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation.” 22:43-46 I wonder if it’s times like this, for Jesus, knowing He was heading to the cross, and for us, when we are faced with grief seemingly too great for us to handle, and we need communication with the Lord. We need to be comforted, yet, it is indeed times like this that we falter, not being able to pray, or keep our attention on the Lord.  Paul certainly understood this by the many times he found himself weak and alone.  But this he would write to the churches in Rome: “In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. And He who searches the hearts knows the Spirit’s mind-set, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8: 26-27  So don’t worry that you are too weak at times to pray, but instead trust that the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and me, will respond to our needs, even when we can’t speak. It’s all a part of staying awake in Christ, even when the body wants to physically sleep. Pastor Andy