“STICKS AND STONES . . . “

“But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.”   Colossians 3:8 NIV Read:  Colossians 3:8   A childhood response to a hurtful, slanderous statement or intentional put down was; “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”   While it may sound good, but it is little more than false hope.   Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can and do hurt.   Words can do more damage at times than those sticks and stones.   Children can be cruel to one another, but are not alone in being talked down and criticized.  Adults of all ages are being emotionally destroyed daily.  It may be from an abusive spouse, an angry boss or even a total stranger. Satan uses all kinds of people to carry out his agenda.  You may know someone who attempts to elevate their own agenda by tearing others down.  That’s when you can make a difference! Lift someone up today.   Find a nice thing to say to everyone you meet.   It may be a simple compliment.  Tell them of how much you appreciate their work.   Tell them of how nice they look or thank them for their great smile. Your simple kinds words may be the nicest thing another hears all day.   Your kind words can override the hurtful words and actions of others.   You can make a difference.  Make the difference today. Today’s prayer:   “HOLY SPIRIT, Thank YOU for being with me and lifting me up every day.   Help me lift others up today...

“SAGEBRUSH ADVICE?”

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”   2Timothy 3:16 NIV Read:   2Timothy 3:10-17 Have you ever driven through the southwest United States and seen the tumbling tumbleweeds rolling across the highways and bare fields?  These dried and uprooted sagebrushes tell us a life’s story.   They have no purpose and are being tossed about by the whim of the wind.  There are a lot of people like that.  They seem to have lost their purpose in life having given up on all GOD has for them. Let’s look at two types of advice.   First is sage advice.  Sage advice is what we all should seek.   Sage advice comes from someone we respect.   We acknowledge them as wise beyond their years, prudent and reflecting quality reasoning. Sagebrush advice is based loosely on street smarts.  It may not be of wisdom or of quality reasoning.   It may be good or bad advice and may come from someone like the tumbling tumbleweed.  That is why it is called sagebrush advice.   At one time it was well rooted.   Now it is dead and may have no value since being uprooted and tossed around. The world we live in is full of sagebrush advice.  Don’t listen.  Scripture is sage advice.  No one can be more trusted or respected than GOD.  No one else is GOD.   No one can even come close to GOD’S reasoning.  Real sage advice is GOD breathed. Today’s prayer:   “Thank YOU, LORD, for giving me YOUR word, YOUR Holy Bible, as perfect advice.   Help me discern the difference of YOUR sage...

“BRAIN DEAD!”

“But Jesus told him, ‘Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.'”  Matthew 8:22 NIV    Read:   Matthew 8:18-22 ‘Brain dead’ was at one time only a medical term.   It meant when a patient’s brain activity stops they are legally dead.   Machines can keep the lungs and heart functioning artificially.  But, machines cannot keep the brain functioning.   Today we hear ‘brain dead’ for other reasons.  It has become a slang term for those who have no apparent goals or desire to adapt into normal social activities.  ‘Brain dead’ has also been used as the title of a movie and television show about politics in Washington.   Now, there is a possibility of a real definition. We also have a growing generation of those who are ‘spiritually dead’.   They have heard the gospel…at least part of it.  They know who JESUS is, but they do not know JESUS. They claim to have it all.   But, they are spiritually dead.   They have a family, a home, a car.  They have family gatherings, go to events and have nice clothes.   But, they are spiritually dead.  They don’t see the need for JESUS.  They feel they are doing all right on their own. There is another group who are not ‘spiritually dead’.   Yet, they are on spiritual life support.  They go to church, maybe often.  They may even pray over a meal once in while on a special occasion.   Sometimes, they may even glance at their Bible. JESUS told us to let those who are spiritually dead bury the dead in today’s scripture reading.  Are you brain...

“JUST NO DISCIPLINE!”

“If you are not disciplined-and everyone undergoes discipline-then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.”   Hebrews 12:8 NIV   Read:  Hebrew 12:1-15 ‘Semper Fidelis’ is the motto of the United States Marine Corps.  We usually see it or hear it shortened to ‘Semper Fi’.  Two Latin words that mean ‘always faithful’.   If you utter these words to a Marine, you will see the hair stand on the back of his neck, his shoulders will go back and his chin will come in and a star studded fireworks show will immediately appear in his eyes.   You are likely to be greeted with a billowous ‘Semper Fi’ in return, a big hug or a sharp salute.   Once a Marine, always a Marine.   Wouldn’t it be great to see all Christians display this pride?  We should.   We should all come to attention when introduced to another Christian.   Respect…not just for the other person, but for what the other person stands for…The Reverence of GOD with us. We live in a society that in general has little or ‘just no discipline’.  Personal ‘rights’ are taking over and are considered more important that what is truly right or wrong. Remember what JESUS told us in Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”.  When you are with another Christian…one or one thousand, do you feel JESUS with you?   You should. Do you have ‘just no discipline’ or are you faithful to the discipline of CHRIST, your LORD?  Are you ‘Semper Fi’, always faithful? Today’s prayer:  “DEAR GOD, Thank...

“TWO TYPES OF PEOPLE.”

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.   For everyone who asks receives; the one who finds; and the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”   Matthew 7:7-8 NIV    Read:  Proverbs 8:4-11 “There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done’, and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.'” is a quote attributed to C.S. Lewis.   I believe it was actually taken from his quote: “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.”   Two types of people make different decisions.  The free will GOD gave us will have us saying to HIM, “THY will be done.” or GOD telling us “Thy will be done.” when we choose our independent will over GOD’S decision of what is best for us. Are you the person who honors GOD with an absolute “THY will be done.”?  Will you ask GOD, seek to find GOD and knock so you will know all HE has and wants for you? Today’s prayer:  “GOD, MY LORD, Thank YOU for giving me choices.  I do want to make the right decision.   I am committed to living my life as...

“GIFTS ARE NOT OFFERINGS”

“You are to give them the firstfruits of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the first wool from the shearing of your sheep.”  Deuteronomy 18:4 NIV   Read:  Deuteronomy 18:3-13 We often confuse gifts and offerings.   Gifts are those special donations over and above a tithe or scheduled offering.   Old Testament scripture tells us ten percent of our ‘firstfruits’.   Notice the Biblical word is firstfruits, while in English we write it as two words.   There is a reason.   First fruit is our worldly interpretation.   Firstfruits is correct as it tells us the uniqueness and non-divisional qualities of the offering.   Gifts are those things which we never expect to have returned.   They are given out of love and respect not out of obligation.   Offerings are the firstfruits of our labors.   Your offering may be a ten percent tithe or another scheduled amount of your income.  Gifts are much over and above any offering. Offerings are the returning to GOD of what HE has already given to you.   Offerings are not gifts.   You cannot give to GOD what is already HIS.   If you are not repaying GOD for what is HIS, why not? The firstfruits of your labors are exactly that…first.    We return to GOD HIS righteous portion before anything else.  Return to GOD what is already HIS before you pay for food, mortgage or other things you feel are necessities.   Trust and return to GOD all that is HIS and then you will find HE will bless you in the balance of your finances. Today’s prayer:   “Thank YOU, HEAVENLY FATHER, for all...