Worship or bust

In ancient Israel, when David fled from King Saul while fearing for his life, he ran into a cave. While there, he sang praises in the midst of his terror (Psalm 57). He took refuge in the shadow of the Lord’s wings and kept steadfast in his love and worship toward him.

Like David, when we cling to the Lord, our lives take on a whole new dimension. While we may never have to endure the panic of someone wishing to take our lives, we have our own versions of travail, which give rise to our worries and fears.

At the heart of worshipping our Father is complete and total surrender. In a world whose goal is winning at all costs, maintaining a submissive, surrendered mindset is viewed as losing. Though in God’s economy, surrendering to him is where we find our ultimate success. Where we are weak and yielded, he remains strong.

Knowing our place under a loving God’s wings is where our true contentment and safety abide. In the family of God, we are fully and completely whole when we abide in the Lord for everything and give thanks to him for his consistent grace toward us.

God created each of us for the sole purpose of becoming part of his eternal family. Our true purpose is to bring pleasure to the Lord and to “lift his name on high.” The best way to do that is to allow the Lord to be preeminent in our lives.

Many in this world are living to worship themselves… to build monuments to their own greatness. Though when times of trial or struggle send them racing for the nearest cave, to whom will they turn? Will they find sanctuary through their reasoning or thoughts? Sadly, they will often put their hopes in their own self-sufficiency.

When surrendering our deepest thoughts and desires to the Lord, we will always be safe under his wings. “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.”

May the Memory Never Die

Bright sun filled the cloudless, azure skies of Tuesday, September 11, 2001—a perfect morning in late summer. Later, at 8:46 a.m., things changed. The morning turned dark, and we all know what happened next.

The events on that fateful day have altered American history forever. While thousands lost their lives in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and also in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, many more lost their lives attempting to rescue the survivors. First responders, plus the aid of countess others who risked their own lives, are a testament to the heart and soul of America heroism.

Before tragedy hit our shores, terrorism hadn’t been so prevalent, at least, not in America. Now we bear the hurts and scars of the devastation that evil can bring. Those who don’t know the Lord and who are bent on spreading their evil are to be most pitied. What’s even more tragic is the death of these souls who may not have made their peace with God before they left this earth. Though even in the midst of a burning airplane or a smoke-filled building, God was waiting and willing to bring them salvation.

On Patriot Day, the country will once again memorialize the fallen victims of this tragedy. These service people’s efforts and dedication to put themselves at the forefront of harm’s way are a unique breed. We honor the dedication and spirit of these selfless people. Whether or not we know any of the victims of 9/11, all of America lost something that day. May the memory never fade.

 

 

Labor Day

The first Monday in September celebrates the American worker—a tribute to the contributions of strength, prosperity, and the industrious work ethic our society has achieved.

Typically, the workplace is an environment where there is a head boss or supervisor whom we report to in the course of our workday. Eyes are always watching and with some, the work is slackened when the eyes look away. Though the Bible tells us in Proverbs 18:9 that “he who is slack in work is a brother to him who destroys.” And in Colossians 3:23, the word says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart as unto the Lord and not human masters.”

While Labor Day is a time to pause and reflect leisurely on life and what’s been accomplished through our daily tasks, there is a satisfaction in knowing the results of the hard work and effort will, hopefully, be of service to others, but more importantly, a blessing to the Lord. In our reflections, it’s also pleasing to remember that the joy of our work comes at the hands of the Lord, who gives us the physical and mental strength to accomplish all we do.

This Labor Day, let’s keep the Lord at the forefront for without him, there would be no reason to celebrate this special day. Praise God for his eternal vigilance toward us and for making a way to provide compensation for ourselves and our families through our jobs. In this present economy, many are still without employment. Let’s keep the unemployed whom we know are diligently seeking work in our prayers that the Lord would enable them to find work, so they may do it to glorify Him.

 

 

Walk by Faith

There is no greater mission in life than to walk in the way of the Lord on the path he sets before us… the one we walk by faith and not by sight. Apostle Paul likens the journey to a course—at times, a race—and one that he endured faithfully, counting the cost and accepting the trials out of his love for the Lord, knowing his efforts were not in vain.

How do we walk in faith in a world that is going one way, while we, as the faithful ones, are going another? Hebrews 12 says, “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith.”

If we are diligent to live for Jesus, we will endure all that comes with the journey because we know God is the source of our strength. As we cling to him in prayer and apply his word to our lives, we are harnessed by his spirit to do his will in every situation.

Our Christian walk is also strengthened through fellowship with other believers. It’s not just a faith walk between you and God on an island. We are called to bear each other’s burdens and pray for one another.

Paul expressed to Timothy in his letter (2 Timothy 4:7) – “I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” Like Paul, may we all be able to say these words at the end of our lives.

 

 

Slaves to Righteousness or Sin?

Dealing with Temptation

 

Tempted much? The lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life can crouch at the door of all of us at times. Though in 1 Corinthians 10:13, Paul says, “God will not tempt us above what we are able to bear… and with the temptation, he will provide a way of escape.”

Some believe this means God will not give them more than they can handle. Actually, God can test a man far more than that. While in Asia, Paul claims that his trials took him to the point of desperation of even life itself. Though at the same time, he shares the antidote to dealing with our struggles: “But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God…” 2 Corinthians 1:9.

Once saved, we have been set free from sin and are now slaves to righteousness according to Romans 6:18. Once we come to Christ through repentance and receive forgiveness for sin, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is through His power that we are able to resist sin.

While some temptations loom beyond our control, that’s the time we need to yield and ask, How do I approach this trial, Lord? Please give me your strength to respond as you would… out of my love for you, I choose your way and not my own to be delivered.