“ROLLER COASTER ANDY!” Wednesday Minute

“All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.”   Ecclesiastes 2:23

 

Read:  Ecclesiastes 2:17-26

 

Years ago, we went to a theme park with another family.   The dad, Andy, was a big, robust man.  Except for one thing.  He had a fear of roller coasters.   After a lot of coaxing, he climbed in.  Scared for his life he clenched the bar and was frozen in time.   The attendant had to pull his white knuckles off the safety bar to lock it in position.

 

Soon the coaster was screaming down the track, but not as loud as Andy was screaming!  Then it was over.  Andy kept looking back at the coaster as we walked away.  Then he was on a new high.  Within an hour, he was ready to ride that roller coaster again.

 

We are a lot like that.   Once we get on the roller coaster of life, we feel like we have to ride out the highs and lows.   One minute, we feel we are on top of the world, then we are whirled into depressions, fears, times of doubt and insecurities.

 

Is your life on a wild roller coaster ride?   Get off the scary highs and lows and trade them for a level ride on an eight lane, peaceful, scenic super highway.   It is easier than you think.   Today, make a decision not to climb on the highs and lows of that roller coaster.   Today does not have to be a roller coaster day.

 

Today, you can have the peace and serenity of JESUS.   You can leave all the ‘what is going to happen next’ times at the foot of HIS cross.   You no longer have to fear the unknowns.  You no longer have to those white knuckle worries.   Today can be the day you listen to the SPIRIT OF GOD for direction.   Today, you can have the peace of all GOD has for you.

 

You can decide to hold HIS hand today or to once again climb on the roller coaster of fear.   It is your choice.   Try to tame that roller coaster of life or give it all to GOD and take that breath of relief.

 

Today’s prayer:  “JESUS, LORD, Thank YOU for keeping me off the highs and lows of life.   I want the steadiness of YOUR care and the security of YOUR loving arms.  Amen.”

 

“IT MAKES YOU STUPID!” Sunday Sermonette

“Even as fools walk along the road, they lack sense and show everyone how stupid they are.”  Ecclesiastes 10:3 NIV

 

Read:   Ecclesiastes 10:1-15

 

Have you ever done something that you knew was wrong, yet you charged ahead and did it anyway?   A lady recently told a story of a 25 year wonderful marriage when her husband suddenly died.   She was lost.   Immediately, she began looking for a new husband.   She married and divorced within months.   She says the loneliness made her stupid.

 

In this twisted world, we can blame loneliness, anger, depression, anxiety, others and more for making us feel stupid.   But, in truth, we need very little help and can do things that make us feel pretty stupid on our own.    When was the last time you did something that resulted in you feeling stupid?  Maybe not that long ago…  After all, you knew better.

 

Doing things that makes us feel stupid is more common to some than others.   We all make choices.   We make good choices and we make bad choices.   When we are self reliant, depending upon our own judgment we can make decisions that make us feel stupid.   Perhaps, feeling really stupid is our own wake-up call.

 

GOD doesn’t make you feel stupid.   We can feel really stupid on our own.  GOD can be your strength.   HE can be your good conscience.  HE can guide you to good decisions.   When you take all your problems to HIM and listen to HIM you will not have to look back and feel stupid for the decisions you made alone.

 

Give GOD a chance.  It is the only time you have an absolute guarantee for not feeling stupid.

 

Today’s prayer:  “Thank YOU, LORD, for giving me solid footing in all I do by YOUR grace.   Guide me to be less dependent on my own failed judgment and more dependent upon YOU.  Amen.”

 

 

“YOU BROKE IT, YOU FIX IT!” Wednesday Minute

“If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly…”   Jeremiah 7:5 NIV

 

Read:   Jeremiah 7:23-28

 

Accountability.  It seems to be disappearing in our society at an alarming rate. You may have loaned a tool or a personal item only to have it returned in less than favorable condition.  Many are simply not responsible and are not appreciative of your generous nature in loaning them things.  Are you different?   Do you return things in as good or better condition than when you borrowed them?  If you break something entrusted to you, do you fix it?

 

More than caring for material things, how about promises?   Is your word good?    Do you keep your promises or is an almost kept promise good enough?   Do you fix broken promises?

 

While we fail in keeping our promises to one another, we should never fail in keeping our promises to GOD.   GOD never has and never will fail in keeping HIS promises to you.

 

We read in the Old and New Testaments of GOD’S perfect promises.  For every promise we read, we also read of fifty times or more of people who broke their promises to HIM.   Broken promises are continuing today, just as they did thousands of years ago.   We have not changed from the people of old.  We have not learned from all GOD has told us.   We are still breaking our promises to GOD and failing to fix what we have broken.

 

As our title instructs; “you broke it, you fix it”.   No one can fix your broken promises to GOD except you.  Your mom or dad can’t fix the promise you made to GOD and broke.   Your spouse can’t fix your wrong and you can’t hire someone to go to GOD in repentance.   Fixing your broken promise or promises is something you have to do.  It is part of your personal relationship with your Heavenly FATHER.  Fix what you need to fix.

 

Today’s prayer:  “Thank YOU, FATHER, for hearing my prayer.   Thank YOU for forgiving all my broken promises to YOU.   Hold my hand this day and guide me to do YOUR will so that this day I don’t break a single promise to YOU.  Amen.”

 

“LOAN HIM A THOUSAND DOLLARS?” Sunday Sermonette

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV

 

Read:  Ecclesiastes 3:1-17

 

Has anyone ever asked you for a loan of hundreds or even thousands of dollars?   We have all been there.   Short of cash can certainly be caused by unknown situations, but are those times results of not being good stewards of what GOD has given us?

 

Being good stewards is more than being wise with the money GOD has allowed us to have.   We are also to be good stewards with everything HE has given us.   Possessions, our jobs, our time; all need to be managed as GOD would have us.   But most important of all, we must be good stewards of the time GOD wants us to worship HIM.  Best of all, we don’t have to borrow from GOD.   Everything we get from HIM, we get as a gift.  There is no loan.  There is no payback.   All we get from GOD is still all HIS.  We are allowed to use it during our time on earth.

 

Short of money or short of time can be an issue with all of us.   If we don’t have money, it has an immediate answer…we simply don’t have it.   While, if we don’t have time, we really do.  Time is the one thing we all have.  It is a matter of how we manage our time.   The most successful people are those who plan their time.   They are also the ones who take advantage and use that extra two minutes rather than sit idle and wait for something to happen.

 

While planning your time, plan time for rest…a minute or two to catch your breath or a day or two to rejuvenate.   But, to be the best manager of your time, plan to spend time with GOD above all else.   Give GOD the time HE deserves and HE will give you time for all those other things.  GOD first.

 

Today’s prayer:  “LORD GOD, Thank YOU for always having time for me.   I need to remember that time with YOU is more important and needs to come before anything else.   Amen.”

 

“DARK SHADOWS IN YOUR LIFE?” Wednesday Minute

“My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass.”  Psalm 102:11 NIV

Read:   Psalm 102:1-11

 

Do you have dark shadows in your life?  Are there times when gloom and doom seem to follow you every where?   Perhaps, you see the long, dark shadows of sinful times, mistakes and failures that haunt you…shadows of anguish, shadows of pains that won’t go away.   Those dark shadows of the past can be like a black veil smothering you.

 

Those dark shadows can prevent you from going forward and doing all GOD has for you.   Would you like to see them disappear forever?

 

The answer is faith.   Have faith in knowing the light of JESUS will take care of you.   JESUS came to be the light of the world.   HE can be the light that removes those cloudy shadows from your life.  Just as when you stand under the sun at high noon and see no shadows, when you stand under HIS perfect light, there are no shadows 24/7!  The problem that was casting those burdening shadows is surrounded by the LIGHT above.

 

Look into the LIGHT.   JESUS.    When you stand in the light of JESUS, you will not see those dark, haunting shadows.   HIS brilliance is what you have been waiting to see.   The more of JESUS’ light you want in your life, the fewer shadows you will hold onto.

 

Today’s prayer:  “Thank YOU, JESUS, for being my LIGHT in this dark and evil world.  Thank YOU for removing those dark shadows that have haunted me daily.   Amen.” 

 

“DO YOU SUPPLICATE?” Sunday Sermonette

“May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise.”      Psalm 119:170

 

Read:   Psalm 119:169-176

 

Often in scripture, we read a word that we are not sure of its true meaning.   We need to understand all the words GOD uses to tell us HIS desires and expectations of us.   So, do you supplicate?  We see this word or form of its tenses just a few times in scripture, yet it is a very important word.

 

The dictionary tells us that when we supplicate, we are praying to GOD in an earnest and humble manner.  It may also mean we are asking GOD to urgently help us.  When we supplicate, we are begging GOD to hear our prayers.

 

Do you supplicate when you ask GOD for help?   When GOD answers your prayers, do you go in supplication and thank HIM for answering your prayers or do you just take GOD’S assistance for granted?

 

Yes, supplication is more than just a rambled prayer.   Supplication is a sincere time of a real conversation with GOD.  When you go to GOD in prayer, you have a choice in the way you pray.   You can mumble a few thoughts with little concern of GOD hearing you and little expectation of HIM answering your prayers or you can pray in full supplication.

 

Next time you go to GOD, supplicate your thoughts with HIM.    Sincerely beg and plead with GOD in an absolute humble and earnest way.  GOD does not deserve any less.

 

Today’s prayer:  “Thank YOU, GOD for always being there to hear my prayers.    Forgive me when I have not been humble and sincere in coming to YOU.   I am sorry for my selfish thoughts and actions.  Amen.”

 

“EVER DIG YOUR HEELS IN?” Wednesday Minute

 “So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.”  Psalm 81:12

 

Read:   Psalm 81:10-16

 

It seems we have an expression or an old saying for about everything.  Instead of just telling someone they are wrong, being stubborn or not being rational; we say they are ‘digging their heels in’.   We sometimes use words that may seem more palatable than just telling it like it is?

So, why do we ‘dig our heels in’?   Are we that much smarter than someone else or believe that our way is the only way?   Maybe, it is just a selfish pride.   We know we are wrong, but our own pride refuses what is right and it gets in the way.   We just don’t want to ever admit to being wrong.   Or maybe, we don’t want to admit that someone else knows more than we do or has a better understanding of a situation.

 

No matter how we excuse it, ‘digging our heels in’ will not be beneficial to us or to others.  A humble heart is necessary when dealing with situations that require us to be logical.   Usually, when we ‘dig our heels in’ we are making decisions based on our emotional feelings rather than a real right or wrong.

 

Peter dug his heels in.   He thought he knew better when he cut off a servant’s ear and again when he told JESUS he would never deny HIM.  But, he dug his heels in and denied he was a follower of JESUS or even knew HIM.   Maybe, you have not denied JESUS openly, but you have dug your heels in on situations with others knowing you were wrong.

 

Admitting to ourselves we are wrong is very difficult to do with the sin nature we all inherited from Adam and Eve.    It is even more difficult to admit to others…but not impossible.    Reject your selfish pride and ask JESUS to help you.   You never have to ‘dig your heels in’.

 

Today’s prayer:  “JESUS, Thank YOU for loving me even when I am wrong.   Thank YOU for helping me admit that I do not know everything and that I need to admit I am wrong more times than I want to be.   Amen.”

 

“NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR PAIN?” Sunday Sermonette

” And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”    Romans 8:27 NIV

 

Read:   Romans 8: 26-30

 

You hurt.   You feel alone and think no one understands how you feel.   That may be what you think, but that is not true.   GOD feels all your pains…physical, emotional and spiritual.  GOD feels your pain just as you do and HE cares about how you feel.   Even when you feel alone, you are never alone.  GOD is with you.

 

We can find comfort in an assured faith.   GOD sent us HIS only SON.  HE was born as man to feel the hurts as pains we all feel.   HE suffered as man physically and emotionally.  HE suffered beatings, cried at losses and died as a man.  But as GOD, HE was able to deal with those pains.

 

As a believer, GOD will help you deal with those pains.   JESUS sent the HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD, to each of us who have trusted in HIM.   THE HOLY SPIRIT is alive in each of us who believe.   HE will never leave us.   Alive in us, HE feels all our aches and pains.   HE knows the emotional turmoils we deal with daily.   Everything you feel, GOD feels as a physical and spiritual part of you.

 

At those times, when you can’t find the right words or you don’t know the words to pray when asking for help, THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD knows just what to pray.   HE intercedes for us…for you…taking your needs and prayers to GOD in Heaven.   GOD tells us in Romans 8:28;  “In the same way, the SPIRIT helps us in our weakness”.

 

Next time you are hurting and words of prayers are just not there, lean on THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD to supply the thoughts and words for you.

 

Today’s prayer:  “LORD GOD, Thank YOU for always knowing my pains and sufferings.   Thank YOU for YOUR HOLY SPIRIT in me to guide me and pray for me when I am unable to pray for myself.  Amen.” 

 

 

“SINATRA: ‘I DID IT MY WAY!” Wednesday Minute

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this.”  Psalm 37:5 NIV

 

Read:   Psalm 37:1-7

 

A few years ago, a very successful business man told me Sinatra’s famous song, ‘I Did It My Way’, was his personal theme song.  He bragged about how everything he had was because of all he had done.   He admitted, without any shame, there were times he lied to get ahead.  He cheated in business and in his marriage and claimed it was all worth it.  He even said he knew for sure he was going to hell.  He believed doing life his way on earth will be worth all the suffering he will endure in hell.   After all, he did it his way.

 

How wrong can one person be?  The problem is too many of us are doing life our way as well.   Oh, some may be believers, but we are still doing things our way.   We set up our own standards and are self dependent of what we want and what we must do.

 

Others of us have become modern pharisees professing hardnosed scripture for others while refusing to listen to the wonderful grace of GOD.   We have become experts at condemning others’ lifestyles, while doing what we want for ourselves.  We are so busy ‘doing it my way’, we ignore GOD talking to us and guiding us as individuals…just as he talked with Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jonah and others.   HE gave them very specific instructions of what HE wanted them to do.  If you will stop ‘doing it your way’ and start listening, you can hear GOD telling you of HIS way.

 

Has GOD given you very specific instructions?   Doesn’t GOD have a way that is better than you doing things your way?  Sure HE does.   Stop doing it your way and start doing it GOD’S way.

 

When you submit to doing it GOD’S way, you will discover HIS wonderful grace rewarding you for listening to HIM.

 

Today’s prayer:  “Dear LORD, Thank YOU for telling me of YOUR perfect plans for me.  I want to do all YOUR way.   Help me stop doing things my way.   I need to listen to YOUR way.  Amen.”

 

 

 

“WHY, WHY, WHY . . . GOD, WHY?” Sunday Sermonette

“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

 Read:   Psalm 22:1-10

 

You feel like you are at the end of your rope.   Your marriage has huge problems, your daughter is walking away from her faith, your boss is more and more critical of your work and bills are piling up.   So, you ask GOD why.   ‘Why, why, why…GOD why?’

 

Your rhetorical question does not need an answer.   And GOD is not going to tell you why. That is when we need to trust GOD.   We need to know HE has a reason.   HIS reason.   It may not be a reason we can be accepting or comfortable with.  It is GOD’S reason.

 

In time, in HIS time, HE may share that reason with us or HIS reason may not be known to you or others for generations.  We know of many of GOD’S plans in scripture.  But, we are privy to these thousands of years after the fact. At the time, those in the lessons we learn from usually knew nothing of GOD’S reasons.   They did not always know or understand why GOD was doing what HE was doing.

 

Today, we need to understand our problem and trust HIM to get us through it.   Remember Job?   He wanted to know GOD’S whys as well.   GOD never revealed HIS reasons.  Job’s friends came up with all kinds of reasons to explain all the hurt and loss Job was feeling.  They were wrong.  Your friends are probably wrong too.   You are probably wrong as well.  We don’t need to know all of GOD’S whys or HIS why nots.

 

We need to know GOD loves us and HE will get us through all our problems when we trust HIM.   Maybe the only ‘why’ you need to hear is GOD asking you:  “Why don’t you trust ME?”

 

Today’s prayer:  “Thank YOU, LORD, for knowing all.   I know that I need to trust YOU rather than know YOUR reasons why.   Help me to depend upon YOU and less of myself.  Amen.”