“SAVE THE LAST DANCE . . .”

 

“Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well.  I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.”  

Jeremiah 31:13 NIV

 

Read:  Jeremiah 31:1-14

Years ago, there was a popular song with lyrics that pleaded; “Save the last dance for me.”.   It was a custom that a lady might dance with several men, but the gentleman who took her to dance was entitled and the lady would politely save the last dance for the one who escorted her.

You have been escorted to the dance called life.   Unlike the lady who was asked to the dance, GOD did not ask you.   You had no choice because GOD had a plan for you.   GOD created you to live this life on earth for HIS reasons.   HE created you to do good not evil.

 

Satan has convinced many that bad is really not all that bad.   A ‘this won’t hurt anything’ and a ‘no one will ever know’ has been his temptation to lure us away from GOD’S perfect desire for us.   Slowly, just a tiny step at a time, Satan has taken people from just the shadows of darkness to the dark pit of evil.
Are you dancing to the music GOD gave to you for eternal life or have you traded GOD’S song for the deathly tune of the devil?   Like the old ‘American Bandstand’ quote; Satan’s tune sometimes has a good beat, but it is hard to dance to.

GOD invited you to this dance called life.   Isn’t it time to stop dancing with the devil?   This day may be your last dance.   Don’t you want your last dance to be with GOD?

Today’s prayer:  “LORD, Thank YOU for creating me to live the life YOU wanted for me.   Forgive me for the times I turned to Satan, when I should have been faithful to YOU.  I want my days on this earth to be with YOU and all YOU have for me.   Amen.”

 

“HE DID IT!”

“In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ”  1Timothy 6:13-14 NIV

 

Read:   1 Timothy 6:11-16

Pointing the blame, accusing another, shifting guilt or whatever you want to call it is something we all have done at one time or another.   Think back.   If the shoe fits, wear it.   We might think blaming others is something our kids say.   With five grandsons, it is not an unfamiliar phase.

“He did it!” is a way of disavowing all responsibility and laying it squarely on the shoulders of another…which may or may not be totally true.   As it is said, a good offense is better than a good or bad defense.   Pretending innocence is not the same as being innocent.

 

When was the last time you blamed someone else when you were responsible or at least partially responsible?    Wouldn’t it be better to accept the responsibility for your words or actions?   A clear conscious starts with a repentant heart.  Next time you are inclined to place guilt on another, think again.
Not always saying “I did it.” is a bad thing.   Often we do not speak up for ourselves and take credit for doing the right thing.   There are times to remain anonymous and there are times to accept credit.   The difference is accepting what GOD tells you to do in every situation.   Trust GOD to guide you in accepting responsibility and fame.  GOD will make the best decision.   Trust HIM.

Today’s prayer:   “LORD,  Thank YOU for forgiving me of all the wrongs I have done and all the times I have avoided responsibility for my wrong words and actions.  Help me to say and do the right things and admit when I am wrong and to ask others and YOU to forgive me.   Amen.”

 

“ARE YOU READY?”

“You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”  Luke 12:35 NIV

 

Read Luke 12:35-40

When a race is about to start, it is common to hear the announcer ask the participants if they are ready?   As a child you may have had a footrace with another friend acting as the announcer with “Ready, Set, Go!”…and the race was off.   The anticipation of getting ready was suddenly gone and reality instantly set in.   The racers had no more time to prepare.  It was a time of action.

Ready for a time on the town, the husband may ask his wife “Are you ready?”   (If he is wise…he will not ask more than once.)   He is as ready as he is going to be, but she is still applying a few touches of perfection.   Ready means different things to different people.

 

Are you ready?

 

Ill health can make us think about being ready. Death… physical death…is a 100% certainty.   When, not if, is the question.  If you are born again, you will meet JESUS face to face.  Are you ready?

When we were in school, most of us crammed at the last minute for a major test or final exams.  There is no final test for a Christian.   GOD grades us every day by what we say and do.   Getting ready is a constant activity.

If you are not ready, shouldn’t you be?   JESUS died on that cross for you.   All of your mistakes of yesterday are paid for you.   You don’t have to worry about them any more…if you are a believer.   Today, you can turn your life around.   Get ready to ask JESUS to be your LORD and to forgive you of your past.

Today’s prayer:  “JESUS, Thank YOU for forgiving all my sins and preparing me to be ready to meet you in Heaven.   Help me each day to stay ready.   Amen.”

 

“YOUR GLUE DOESN’T STICK!”

“For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears,

and they have closed their eyes.”   Matthew 13:15a NIV
Read:   Matthew 13: 1-23

My roots are from northeast Texas and those ‘other’ states east of there.   Even though I grew up in Dallas, I was exposed to the country way of life and its people, including some sun baked farmers who knew hard work and who had a ‘bucket full’ of common sense.  One of their wise sayings was ‘your glue doesn’t stick’.   This was a polite way of telling someone; ‘you don’t make any sense’, ‘that is not logical’ or in some cases a very firm ‘you don’t know what you are talking about’.

 

Has anyone ever told you that ‘your glue doesn’t stick’?   More than likely, someone has corrected you with these or other words.   Someone cared enough to offer you help when you were possibly making a wrong decision.

 

These old sayings remind me of JESUS’ parable teachings.   Many of HIS teaching were examples of agriculture since most of HIS countrymen were responsible for growing their own food.

The story of a seed producing a hundred fold is told in Matthew, Mark and Luke.   JESUS’ ‘glue did stick’.   JESUS knew what HE was teaching.    Are you a good listener to HIS word?   Does HIS teachings make sense to you?

There are people today like those of JESUS’ time.   They have heard JESUS is their saviour, but they still do not see with their eyes or hear with their ears the truth of the gospel of JESUS.   Still doing it their way and their glue still doesn’t stick.  Isn’t it time you let JESUS’ glue stick and call upon HIM to take away your sins and guarantee you life for all eternity?

Today’s prayer:  “JESUS, MY LORD, Thank YOU for always sticking with me.  Help me to see, hear, understand and follow YOUR teachings.   I know YOUR way is the only way.   Amen.” 

“FREE SIN OR SIN FREE?”

“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.”   Act 13:38 NIV

Read:  Act 13:38-39

You might think one of these would be true.  But, in the world we live free sin is not really free and yet, none of us live sin free.

Satan, our lying tormentor, would have you believe he has plenty of free sin for all.   What he doesn’t tell you that sin, all sin, has a price.  Its price is more than you can afford…eternity in hell if you follow him.

As much as we may want, it is impossible to be sin free in this lifetime.   Romans 8:1-2  tells us…“Therefore, there is not condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” 

 
Those who have accepted CHRIST will awake every day knowing they will be free of sin and death saved by grace for all eternity.

 
Satan would have you believe otherwise.  He will continue to torment even the most faithful.   Lust, lies, power and money will be the tauntings of every believer.  His desire is to corrupt in ways so evil most cannot even imagine.

With the HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD living in each believer, we have an advocate.  Satan will continue to tempt us.  But, as believers we can turn those temptations over to GOD.

GOD created us knowing we were imperfect.   HE gave us the free will to choose.   The free will HE gave us is not a free pass to sin.   HIS desire is for us to turn from sin and to turn to HIM.  To be free from sin for all eternity, ask JESUS to be your LORD and to forgive all your sins.   HE will when you give your life to HIM.

Today’s prayer:  “JESUS, Thank YOU for forgiving me and taking on all my sins.   As unworthy as I am, YOU make me worthy.  Please help me turn away from every temptation of sin.  Amen.”

 

“I WANT A BURGER WITH FRIES!”

“And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”   1 Thessalonians 5:14 NIV

Read: 1 Thessalonians 5:4-18

 

Fast food came into being when the idea of a drive thru lane became a norm.    We are so impatient and some may say lazy.   Is it too much to get out of our car?    Still, the drive thru has found its way into America.    Some dry cleaners are building drive thrus.  I have even seen drive thru convenience stores…that you actually drive thru the middle of the store.   Several years ago, I read of a drive thru mortuary.   You could view and pay your respects to the deceased laying in the coffin behind a large window as you drove by.   Something is wrong with this.

 

Our casual approach to life shows in every part of our society in general.    Instant gratification, getting ahead of the other guy, bigger must be better, more toys more joys, if it glitters it’s good, and more are clear signals we are headed in the wrong direction.

Don’t you want more out of life than ‘a burger with fries’?   Do have values that are more important?  On the way to visit a church one Sunday morning, I passed a famous pancake restaurant with a line of at least 50 people waiting on the sidewalk to get in.   The church was only half occupied and there was no line waiting to get in.

With the condition of our society, shouldn’t we have lines of people waiting to get inside our churches?   One reason our churches are not full is the materialistic world we live in…Satan’s home.   Have you forgotten this earth was the Devil’s home before GOD created Adam and Eve here?   With so many choosing the evils of this world over the gospel, what are you going to do about it?

It is your responsibility.   If you don’t accept the responsibility JESUS gave you, who will?  Don’t just invite a family member or neighbor to go to church with you…take them with you.   Let them enjoy a full meal of the GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST, then take them out for the burgers and fries.

Today’s prayer:  “JESUS MY LORD, Thank YOU for reminding me of what I should be doing rather than what I might choose to do.  Help me be the disciple YOU have told me to be.   I want to be the servant YOU desire.  Amen.”

 

“SOMETHING TO FORGET?”

“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”   Joshua 1:5 NIV

Read:  Joshua 1:5-9

 
“I would rather have something to forget than to have nothing to remember.”  Does this make you think of people and situations of many years ago?  I read this recently and it provoked me to think of distant memories.   Have you noticed memories of ancient times are usually exaggerations of reality?   We tend to embellish some facts while conveniently ignoring thoughts of times that did not go as well.

One fact remains; we are today a result of the good and bad of our past times.   All memories are certainly better than having nothing to remember.

 

Where were you twenty years ago?   At the time, did you have any idea of your life today?   Having no memories would tell us we did nothing with the life given us.  GOD put us on this earth to live according to HIS will.

It proves to have something to forget is much better than having nothing to remember.  What will you remember about this time twenty years from now?   Will your memories be blessed thoughts or will they be painful disappointments?

You have a choice.  Are you doing today the things that will make good memories for you in years to come?  Wouldn’t it be great to have a lot of good memories of today?

Today will be the memory you have tomorrow.   Even in what may seem like failure and tragedy are with you, know GOD is with you and will rescue from the anguish you are in.   GOD has promised to always be with you.   Self inflicted situations or as an innocent victim of another, GOD has something better for you.  GOD will protect you in HIS timing.   Submit to HIM and HE will bring peace and comfort to you.

Today’s prayer:   “GOD MY CREATOR,  Thank YOU for always protecting me from myself and from others.  No matter the situation, help me to understand this day will eventually be a good memory because of YOUR guidance.   Amen.”

“EVER FALL ON YOUR EAR?”

“Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach,”  Proverbs 22:17 NIV
Read:  Proverbs 22: 17-21

Did you ever hear the expression ‘fell on his ear’.   It seems we could fall on a lot of parts of our body before an ear would make contact.   The expression seems to date back to the some time in the 1800s.   It was the result of someone being removed from an establishment by dragging them out literally by their ears.   Perhaps, you know of a friend’s mother corralling them by the ears in a similar manner.

There are probably times we all should have been disciplined by throwing us out on our ear.   We might have learned a good lesson and corrected our attitude even if we fell on our ear or another more appropriate part of our anatomy.
“Fell on our ear” can also have another learning experience.   When was the last time a truthful thought from another ‘fell on your ear’?   Has GOD’S word ever fallen on your ear?  JESUS taught us to listen through HIS teachings…not just hear but to listen.

Last Sunday, your pastor read a verse of scripture that should have ‘fallen on your ear’, maybe it was from a Sunday School teacher, a Bible study group or from a radio sermon.  Where it came from is secondary.   What the scripture told you was dramatic.

Did you listen to what ‘fell on your ear’ or did you hear it in one ear and it went right out the other ear?   That’s the problem.   GOD talks to us, sometimes just a verse at a time and we let it pass in one ear and out the other.  When HIS word ‘falls on our ear”, we need to pay attention for our own benefit.

Today’s prayer:  “LORD MY GOD, Thank YOU for continuing to talk to me through YOUR scriptures.   Help me to understand with clarity all YOU are telling me.   Tell me of all YOU want for me and of me.   I promise to listen. Amen.”

 

“GOD, WHERE ARE YOU?”

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?”  Psalm 22:1 NIV

Read:  Psalm 22:1-11
“GOD, where are YOU?, we all too often scream.   During these times of fear, doubts and insecurities we fail ourselves and at those times may feel GOD has left us.   In truth, GOD is there for us, just as HE always is.

GOD never abandons us.  Never.  Never has and never will.  But, through our own agendas we abandon GOD.  We expect GOD to be there when we want HIM.   It seems all too often, when we are not in need of GOD’S help we simply ignore our CREATOR.  Does your way become more important than GOD’S way as long as everything is going along with your plans and desires?
“GOD, I need YOU now!”, might have been the call of David as he ran and hid from the armies of Saul.   While David hid he called upon GOD asking GOD why HE had forsaken him.

Does it all sound familiar?   Have you called upon GOD during a crisis and pleaded “GOD, where are YOU?” or “GOD, I need YOU now.  Please, don’t allow this or that.”

We cry out to GOD to interfere with our situations.   Maybe, we are suffering from a job loss at an unplanned time or a financial setback at a bad time.   Some cry out for their health or a loved one’s health to be restored.   There is not a good time for any of these or other situations.

GOD wants to hear from you in these trying times, but HE also wants to hear from you when things are going well.   Do you talk with GOD when you don’t need HIS help at the minute?   Do you wake up and thank HIM for the new day or just before going to sleep, do you thank GOD for all HE did for you during your day?

GOD is always with you.   You never have to ask; “GOD where are YOU?”  When you are always in prayer with HIM, you have an assurance GOD is with you.

Today’s prayer:  “LORD, Thank YOU for always being near.   Forgive me for doubting YOU when I feel alone or scared.  Give me strength and understanding to call upon YOU during the good times as well as the bad.  Amen.”