About Me

What should I say? I hope by reading my blog you come to learn who I am. I always want Christ first in my life. I want to consistently show the fruit of the spirit in my life. I want others to be blessed by what I go through and learn from it.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Don't follow Me

"Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1

I used to think that Paul seemed a bit full of himself when he wrote this verse. As I read the Bible more and as I come to know more about Christ and the apostles, especially Paul, I've decided that this statement is ok for Paul to make. (I know, you were worried, right?) But it's not a statement I would ever make.

I get concerned when people come up to me to tell me what a good job I'm doing handling this situation...because I know I'm not doing much of all except letting God take over. But maybe that's good enough. How often do we let God take over? More than likely, we try to take control, we want to be in charge, and we want to take the credit. As often as someone comes up to tell me what a good job I'm doing, I tell them as quickly as I can that it's not me, it's all God, I don't want the credit.

As I was thinking about this, I started to wonder if that's really true is this blog a good thing to do, isn't it still me writing this blog for others to read? Am I doing it for me? Let me say this as plainly as I can...GIVE THE GLORY TO GOD. I appreciate what people say to me, and I'm happy to keep sharing as long as God gives me something to share, but the second I write this blog to get any fame or glory for myself is the second I want someone to call me on it, and maybe the time I stop.

Let me share a story with you..
The donkey awakened, his mind still savoring the afterglow of the most exciting day of his life. Never before had he felt such a rush of pleasure and pride.
He walked into town and found a group of people by the well. “I’ll show myself to them,” he thought.
But they didn’t notice him. They went on drawing their water and paid him no mind.
“Throw your cloaks down,” he said crossly. “Don’t you know who I am?”
They just looked at him in amazement. Someone slapped him across the tail and ordered him to move.
“Miserable heathens!” he muttered to himself. “I’ll just go to the market where the good people are. They will remember me.”
But the same thing happened. No one paid any attention to the donkey as he strutted down the main street in front of the market place.
“The palm branches! Where are the palm branches!” he shouted. “Yesterday, you threw palm branches!”
Hurt and confused, the donkey returned home to his mother.
“Foolish child,” she said gently. “Don’t you realize that without him, you are just an ordinary donkey?”

That's me, just an ordinary donkey without God I wouldn't be able to accomplish much more than getting myself in trouble. So, please don't think of me as anyone more special than anyone else.

While I do think it's ok for us to follow Paul's example as he follow Christ's, I don't want people following me; I'm a sinner, I struggle with anger, lust, sloth, gluttony, and sometimes I don't react like I should, I'm not always kind, I should be more patient, loving, and careful. So don't follow me or my sinful example.

Let's walk alongside and follow Christ's example.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Where To Look?

"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:10-14

I love to go camping. I'm not talking about the giant motor home-with-all-the-gadgets type of camping, I'm talking about a tent, campfire, and sleeping bag type of camping. I was thinking about this earlier today. I'm not sure why, it's kind of chilly today and the day after tomorrow will be November, but I was just thinking about how I want to go camping but can't right now.

But I probably will be able to next summer.

Yup, that's right, hopefully next summer I'll be bale to do something I haven't done in years because it's been too hard to. I haven't been able to go camping in the last several years because I was worried about my ankles letting me get up off the ground, I've been worried it'll be too uncomfortable and I've been pretty tied to my CPAP machine. I did camp a bit the summers of 2006 and 2007 at Soulfest in New Hampshire and I loved it. I don't know why, but I think things taste good when cooked over an open fire or on a Coleman stove.

Being able to look past what's going on right now has been key in having such a positive attitude as I've gone through my amputation and as I sit at home with no way of getting myself around. That's not going to last forever, I will be able to get out and do things eventually. And that eventually is getting closer and closer. I'm only a couple of weeks away of getting measured for my temporary prosthesis, and about a month away from actually receiving it and being able to learn to walk with it. I can't tell you how excited I will be on that day, when I can walk out to my car, get into it and drive myself somewhere, hopefully to a school where I'll be ministering at with Coastlands Consultants. 

The verse I shared at the beginning of this entry speaks to this, I think. Look ahead, look to the prize. Later in that same chapter (Philippians 3)  Paul writes "...let us live up to what we have already attained" and "But our citizenship is in Heaven. And we eagerly await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ," Look past what you're going through, you will get through it. Look to the future, when you can use it to minister to someone goig through something similar, or the same. Look to when you can see how God brought you through it.

But if you'll be looking for me, I'll be the one in the tent, or maybe the one cooking over the fire.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Take Some Pictures

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." James 1:12

Every Wednesday, I attend a small group through my church, and we are currently working our way through the book of James, I believe I've referenced this group before. We rarely get through more than three or four verses in the hour and a half meeting time, but I love it, we really get into the verses and see how they apply to our life.

This week, one of the verses we talked about was the one above; we spoke about reasons for ministry or reasons for standing firm. We talked about how it can sometimes lead to a "carrot on a stick" mentality; we do good, and stand firm to receive the reward. I believe that a Christian that is standing true will actually be the reverse of that, we receive the reward because we stood firm.

What's the difference you might ask. The difference goes to your motivations. I'm not staying truthful to God through my current trial because I think He'll reward me for it later, because I'll get a bigger mansion in Heaven or a snazzy looking crown for it. I do it to please God, to glorify Him regardless of the reward.

When you love someone, you want to do things that please them, things that make them happy, not because it will get you a reward, but simply because it will please the other person. In my opinion, this is a very simplified definition of sanctification. Another simple definition of the term sanctification (and one that's more Biblical in my opinion) is that it is the process of our faith working itself out in our life. It is the fruit of the Spirit manifesting in us, because our faith is growing and taking over more and more of our life. And eventually, we can see the result of that fact. As we maintain out faithfulness, and persevere through trials, we can see how God has blessed us.

My screen saver is a slideshow of pictures from the last several years, well over the last decade. I have it there to remind me of the good times I've had and how God has blessed me, not surprisingly, they are mostly from times when I've been in ministry. Let me encourage you to take some snapshots of times when you can see how God's helped you though a difficult time, maybe they can be actual photos, mental snapshots, or even written notes reminding you of when God has been faithful. Remember Psalm 85:15 "But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness."

Today's hymn is "Great Is Thy Faithfulness"

1. "Great is Thy faithfulness," O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
* "Great is Thy faithfulness!" "Great is Thy faithfulness!"
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
"Great is Thy faithfulness," Lord, unto me!
2. Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
3. Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Positive vs. Negative

"I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.

I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.

Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:19-23

I admit, yesterday I kinda had to force my blog entry. I still think it's true, I wouldn't have posted it if I didn't, but you can see I didn't put a lot of effort into it. Today's entry is out of what I read in my quiet time this morning.

Read, the passage from Lamentations, how true it is.

I have days where what I read in my devotional book, and what I read in my daily scripture readings don't always line up. not to say that they contradict each other, but they will be on different subjects. But then I have days like today where they do align, and then I make sure to pay extra attention, because I think it's a lesson God really wants me to learn.

Today everything lined up to tell me how important my mindset is. I feel as though I've kept a pretty positive mindset through all of the issues with losing my foot. People have commented on it, and I believe it's shown out in my recovery process. My leg is healing very well, the doctor who removed my stitches said so, I was out of inpatient rehab in less than two weeks, the therapists who have come to the house have been impressed in how I'm coming along and managing my daily tasks. I believe this is all because my mind is laser focused on getting better and getting back on my feet so I can get back to ministry.

Sure, I've had my rough spots, the other day I tried to put down my right foot to steady myself, twice. but I choose to not focus on the bad days, and I choose to set my mind on getting back to normal.

I'm not one of those "Power of Positive Thinking" people, I'm not going to tell you that if you just focus all your positive energy on something it'll all work out. But I will tell you that I believe you can be happier if you set your mind on positive things. Could I let everything bad that happens be an obstacle? Yup, but it won't help anything. Could I sit here and moan about missing my right foot? Yup, but it won't bring it back. Could I cry and complain that everything is too hard for me? Absolutely, but it won't get me back to ministry.

So I choose to be positive, I choose to overcome the obstacles so the obstacles don't overcome me. And I choose to get back on my feet, even if one of them will be made of titanium.

Today's hymn I believe to be a hymn of hope, it's titled "God Will Lift Up Your Head" and I found it on Jars of Clay's Redemption Songs cd.

Give to the wind your fear
Hope and be undismayed
God hears your sighs and counts your tears
God will lift up, God will lift up, lift up your head

God will lift up your head
God will lift up your head
God will lift up your head
Lift up your head

Leave to His sovereign sway
To choose and to command
Then shall we wandering on His way
Know how wise and how strong
How wise and how strong

God will lift up your head
God will lift up your head
God will lift up your head
Lift up your head

Through waves and clouds and storms, He gently clears the way
Wait because in His time, so shall this night
Soon end in joy, soon end in joy
Soon end in joy, soon end in joy

God will lift up your head
God will lift up your head
God will lift up your head

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

American's Idols

"They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, 'These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.'" Exodus 32:8

I had a hard time trying to decode two things today...1- If I was going to write anything and 2- What I was going to write about. I ended up doing anything but writing. I watched TV, I watched stuff on my computer, the occupational therapist came, I watched some more TV, I took a nap, played around on the computer, turned the computer off, then I turned the computer on and decided to write about idols.

I find it amazing all the stuff we can find to put in the way of worshiping God, and yes, I do look at this blog as a form of worship. I would say it's worship because it's designed to glorify God.

As we can see from my verse at the start of this entry, the Israelites were pretty quick to put up an idol and so are we. At least I'll claim to. Think of all the stuff we put as an idol that gets in our way; work, kids, TV, music, our home, other people, specific causes, sin, money...feel free to add something else to this list. One thing to take note of is that a lot of those things are good things, it's fine to work to support ourselves and our family, our kids are wonderful gifts (not that I have any, but I hope to someday) but if we let those things take our focus off God, they become an idol.

I don't want to come off preachy, I've put up my own idols, but let's work together to kick idols out of our way, and focus on the most important thing, God.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What's That Smell?

"For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." II Corinthians 2:15

Today at church I realized that being in this wheelchair, I've been opened up to a relatively set of smells due to the level of my nose...armpits and breath. I don't say that to gross anyone out, and I certainly don't want to offend anyone with whom I go to church, and I'm not saying anyone at my church smells bad, but it's just a realization I made. With this realization, I realized that our mouth and armpits can give off a wide variety of smells, but they could be grouped into two categories; good or bad.

That got me thinking about the aroma that I give off, is it a good or bad aroma? Now, I was finally able to figure out the new shower situation this morning and I finally took a one-footed shower, so I hope that in terms of that way, I'm giving off a good aroma, though I'd also settle for an absence of bad aroma. But I'm not talking about aroma in those terms, I'm talking about the attitude that people are left with when they have met up with me. Do people leave an encounter with me thinking that I stink or that they are better off for having run into me?

And in this case, I wouldn't want to settle for an absence of a bad aroma, I want to actively be giving off a pleasing aroma, and that pleasing aroma is Christ. I like what Paul wrote in I Corinthians 2, when he talks about what he wanted the people in Corinth to see in him. Look in verses 2 and 3 "When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified."

When Paul left Corinth, he didn't want people to be talking about him, or the words he used, or how he spoke, he wanted people to remember the subject on which he spoke, Christ and Him crucified. I've had the opportunity to speak with a lot of people through the process of my amputation and I hope that when I've left them or when they've left me, they've left with the impression of Christ.

If they haven't, I need to do a better job. Sure I could get a t-shirt or something made up that says I glorify God in this situation, but I'd rather have my words or better yet, my actions saying that I give praise to God in this situation.

One of the things that I've had to work on over the last several years, and I'm still working on it, I haven't perfected it yet, is my pride. I like to be right, I don't think there's anyone who enjoys being wrong, but there are times I've rolled over someone in a conversation to make sure I'm right. And even if I'm wrong I like to get them to admit I'm right...you get the picture. But one thing I've realized over the last several years is that sometimes it's more important to be loving and Christlike than to be right.

But that's kind of a side note, to get back to what I want people to be left with when they run into me I'm going to share another worship song, I'll take a break from hymns. This song is probably the most hymn-like worship song I've heard, it's "In Christ Alone"

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
‘Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
‘til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

When I've left someone, I want them to see Christ in me, how do I do that? By making sure that Christ alone is the only thing in which I put my hope. If we commit to know only Christ and Him crucified, we can't help but give off an aroma that's pleasing to God.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I Know God Watches Me

"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life." 1 Timothy 6:17-19

There's only one thing in this life that can truly cause me to worry. It's the one thing can can consistently cause me to lose sleep, to be distracted and to be a pessimist. Want to know what it is? I bet I'm not the only person who worries about this. It's money. I found out the other day that I'm going to be stuck with several thousand dollars worth of doctor's bills. I incurred these bills when I was in the hospital in New York, the hospital forgave my bill with them, but the doctors I saw all billed separately, and I need to work it out with them for payment. I had applied for Medicaid, but that came in effect a bit too late to cover these bills.

I was fretting about these bills as I was doing my devotion this morning, and one of the passages I was reading was the one above from 1 Timothy chapter 6. I know it's not the situation I'm going through, it's written to people who have too much money and focus on it excessively, but I took something out of it I think because I'm focusing too excessively on money, or rather my lack thereof.

I'm forgetting to put my hope in God, how can I not? I managed to incur tens of thousands of dollars in hospital bills over the last several months and was all of it forgiven by the hospitals? You bet it was. I still have a lot of issues to go through dealing with my amputation, the prosthesis and other things, and I have insurance. How can I not praise God and continue to trust Him that it will all work out.

I'm not saying that I won't have to pay anything. I'm not saying that the bills will all just disappear, they may but I'm not praying for my bills to go away, and I'm not saying God will definitely work it our a certain way. What I am saying is that God will work it out. It could be that God will provide a way for me to pay the bills, it could be that someone else will help me out, and it could be that the doctors will forgive the bills. But that's not what I should be focusing on, I should be focusing on God's provision.

That verse really reminded me of the passage from Matthew chapter 6 talking about worry. If wou want to check it out, look at Matthew 6:25-34.

And because of that, my hymn for the day is "His Eye Is On The Sparrow"

Why do I feel discouraged
Why do the shadows come
And why does my heart feel lonely
And long for heaven and home
When Jesus is my portion
A constant friend is He
His eye is on the sparrow
And i know He watches me


So I sing because I’m happy
And I sing because I’m free
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me

So I sing because I’m happy
And I sing because I’m free
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches
And I know He watches
And I know He watches me

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

High Expectations

"If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us." II Chronicles 20:9

I'm home! Yesterday I was discharged from rehab, that meant that I spent less than two weeks in rehab, praise God! I expected to spend a much longer time in rehab, I thought I had a lot more to learn. But since I've been in a wheelchair for several months now, I had already learned a lot of what they were going to teach me. Isn't it neat to see how God had been working all throughout this summer?

I read the verse I shared at the beginning of this post and I realize I should have been expecting something pretty good. You see, I decided a while ago that I would stand in God's presence, I would give this to Him and see where He would take me. And he took me out of rehab days earlier than I expected.

Once we truly learn to stand in God's presence and give our will to Him, we find that things turn out consistently better than they used to, why? Because we're praying God's will, not our own. (See Matthew 6:6, 21:22) And I'm not talking about praying the way I used to pray. I used to pray that I would get my will but make it sound good by adding the phrase, "If it's your will, God."

Don't misunderstand me here, I am not condemning people who are praying in God's will and using that phrase, I'm specifically condemning the way I used to pray; praying my will but disguising it to make it sound better to other people. I am only condemning the way I used to do things, please do not see this as an attack on you. But you can take it to heart if you're doing what I used to. :)

Now, I prefer my prayers to sound a bit more like what we find in Matthew 6:9-13
"This, then, is how you should pray:
" 'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.'"

And I prefer my attitude to be a bit more like the attitudes of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego found in Daniel 3:17,18 "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." That was the attitude I strove to have going into my surgery; I knew my God could heal me, but even if he didn't I was going to glorify Him anyway. And that's what I'm doing, I lost my foot, but I will continue to praise God and thank him for what He's done in my life.

Today's hymn is a short one, but good and true nonetheless; "Be Still, My Soul"

Be still, my soul, the Lord is on my side,
Bear patiently the cross of grief and pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide,
In every change He, faithful, will remain.
Be still, my soul, thy best, thy heavenly Father,
Through stormy ways leads to a joyful end.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Where to Look

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Peter 3:16,17

I know a lot of people might get some ammunition out of the following statement, but I feel the need to say it anyway...I am not as smart as I would like people to think. I would like people to think that I am brilliant, that they can come to me when they have a question about anything, that I could sit and hold a conversation about very heady topics like particle physics, medieval literature or even sports statistics, but I can't. Most of what I know about physics, I've picked up from "The Big Bang Theory", the closest I've come to medieval literature is "A Knight's Tale" and I steal most of the sports stats I know from the commentators, probably the only thing that comes naturally to me is spelling.

The truth is, to learn something we need to study it, if you want to learn math, you study, the same is true with science or literature. Why do people think that's not true when it comes to the Bible? People think they know what's "Christian" because they know how they feel about a situation. I don't want to use this blog as a forum for debating any issues of the day, what's right and what's wrong, because if you're reading this, you have the capability to find out for yourself. Want to know what's right in a situation? Check our instruction book. Want to know where God's opinion falls on the hot-button issues of the day? Read your Bible, that's our instruction book. Christians have compromised on issues, not all Christians, and I'm not going to say what issues, because that's not what this is about, but Christians need to read the Bible to see what God says about things. Stop compromising, read your Bible.

I don't claim to be perfect, I don't have it all right, I am sure I've compromised as well, but I can change that, you can too. As Christians, let's seek God's will more, let's look to see what God says on the subject before we go and shoot our mouths off about it.

Take My Life and Let it Be...

1. Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
*Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.
2. Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
3. Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
4. Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
5. Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
6. Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Give Credit Where Credit's Due

"Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us." Titus 2:6-8

My stepfather and I have a little joke, when one of us visits a church for the first time, the other one will ask if the sermon is a "Do good, do good, do good" sermon. You see, each of us have been to too many churches where the pastor will get up and preach about how we should be good, sometimes it'll be because it'll cause others to be good to us, sometimes it'll be because then God will see that we've done good and reward us, and sometimes it'll be because someone has been listening to too many Christmas songs and tell us we should be good for goodness sake.

Only once have I heard a "Do good, do good, do good" sermon preached where I also felt a good reason was given, this summer, my pastor preached a sermon where he said we should do good because it glorifies God. That's a "Do good, do good, do good" sermon I can get behind. We shouldn't be doing good because we get something out of it, we should be doing good because someone else gets something out of it.

The verse I quoted today confirms the idea of doing good to glorify God. If someone can't accuse us of doing wrong, God should get the credit. If we react well to a situation, if you consistently handle yourself with grace and patience, God should be glorified. Don't take the credit for it, don't just brush it off because you're embarrassed or because you think a "good Christian" should be embarrassed about it, give the credit to God!

A while ago, I made the commitment that God was going to be glorified in whatever happened with my foot, and I am sticking with it. A few people have commented on how well I am handling this situation, and before, I would have brushed it aside, thanked them or even said something like "Well, I do what I can" and made a joke about it. If I'm going to glorify God, I have to give Him the credit for every good thing that's coming out of this. Remember James 1:17.

This kind of attitude needs to come out of humility; we can't think to well of ourselves if we're going to give credit to God, it can be a tough thing to take the credit off us. Society will tell you to take all the credit you can, be an individual, be strong, be self-sufficient! Let's buck that trend, let's be God-sufficient, be strong enough to tell someone that you can't do it on your own and you needed God's help, and strive to be one with Christ.

I love today's hymn..."When I Survey the Wondrous Cross"

1. When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
2. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
3. See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
4. Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Suffering...No Way

"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." 1 Peter 5:10

I don't want to get stuck on suffering. I don't want to give the impression that I'm depressed, feeling sorry for myself or can't get past what I've given up because I'm not, I don't and I can. The problem for a lot of people though, is that they can't get past what they've given up, they're stuck in the past and often a bit resentful about it.

The verse up there tells us two things that will happen; suffering is the first thing Peter promises. As Christians, we know Satan is going to oppose us and make it hard to do what's right. Sometimes, if something is too easy, I end up wondering if it's the right thing to do. I know God can make a way and make it go smooth, I don't want to say anything that might hint that God is not sovereign, 'cause He is. But if I am questioning what I'm doing, and it is super easy, I might sit down and evaluate it again to make sure it's lined up with God's word.

The second part of that verse is what I want to focus on "...will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." Once you're done suffering, God himself will restore you, he'll bring you back to full, set you right and stand you back on your feet. He'll restore your strength, help you to stand firm and steadfast. I love that word, steadfast; it means unwavering. I can see that happening in me; I've suffered, I don't think I'm done suffering, it'll be hard for a while. I'm in good spirits, but that's not because things are a piece of cake, it's because of Christ in me, enabling me to keep my spirits up.

Psalm 147:3 supports this promise "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."

Jesus has power, Jesus saves, and continues to protect us, and restore us. That's why today's hymn is "All Hail The Power Of Jesus' Name"

All hail the power of Jesus' name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
bring forth the royal diadem,
and crown Him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem,
and crown Him Lord of all.

Ye chosen seed of Israel's race,
ye ransomed from the Fall,
hail Him who saves you by His grace,
and crown Him Lord of all.
Hail Him who saves you by His grace,
and crown Him Lord of all.

Sinners, whose love can ne'er forget
the wormwood and the gall,
go spread your trophies at His feet,
and crown Him Lord of all.
Go spread your trophies at His feet,
and crown Him Lord of all.

Let every kindred, every tribe
on this terrestrial ball,
to Him all majesty ascribe,
and crown Him Lord of all.
To Him all majesty ascribe,
and crown Him Lord of all.

(Alternate wording to the above verse)
Let every tribe and every tongue
before Him prostrate fall
And shout in universal song
the crownèd Lord of all.
And shout in universal song
the crownèd Lord of all.

O that with yonder sacred throng
we at His feet may fall!
We'll join the everlasting song,
and crown Him Lord of all.
We'll join the everlasting song,
and crown Him Lord of all.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How Will They Know Me?

"Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything." 1John 3:18-20

I really hate it when I do stuff like this. I don't know why I was so frustrated yesterday, but I was, and I tried not to take it out on my occupational therapist, but I think a bit of hostility broke through. Sure, it's understandable that I'm a bit frustrated, but for the most part, I'm really not all that angry. Look at yesterday's post, I think I am at peace with what's happened with my foot. Maybe it was because she was asking me to do things that I couldn't really do all that well with two feet, it could have been any number of reasons, but that doesn't excuse what I did yesterday.

So I decided to deal with it, but not how you might expect...I prayed that I would change my attitude.

I could tell that the number one reason I was angry and frustrated was my own doing. Last night, and this morning I kept repeating the phrase "Lord, change my attitude, make me more willing to work with her." And I think it worked. I ended up not having her today after all, but I was ready to.

I've found that quite often, the biggest problem we have in dealing with other people is our own, pride. Scripture speaks often on humility, and how to deal with others; we need to treat the needs of others at least as highly as we treat our own. (see Philippians 2:4) Galatians 5:19-21 tells us where anger, impurity, selfish ambition and a host of other bad attitudes and actions come from; our sinful nature. Verses 22 and 23 tell us how we ought to act, what should be coming out of a life that is sold out for Christ. The nice thing it that even if we mess up, we can ask for forgiveness, and I will. I've asked God to forgive my attitude, and if I see that therapist again, I'll ask her forgiveness. Asking forgiveness is tough, but it might be the one thing that is the most telling about who is truly the lord of your life.

My hymn for today is one I always thought of as a campfire song because we sang it around the campfire at summer camp all the time..."They'll Know We Are Christians By Our Love"

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yes, they'll know we are Christians by our love

We will work with each other, we will work side by side
We will work with each other, we will work side by side
And we'll guard each one's dignity and save each one's pride
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yes, they'll know we are Christians by our love

We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
And together we'll spread the news that God is in our land
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yes, they'll know we are Christians by our love

Monday, October 11, 2010

One Week

"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:11,12

Well, it's been a week. Pretty crazy to think how someone's life could so drastically change in just seven short days. To be honest, I'm truly struggling to decide if it's changed for better or worse. I know someone reading this is going to think I'm not being entirely truthful here, but if you've seen me in the last few days, I think you'd believe me.

I think it is a matter of perspective.

I'm not saying my life got easier, so if easier is your only criteria of something being better, we're not on the same page. I can't say it got easier, I mean I just lost a foot, but I still think it changed for the better. It used to be I was just cruising. Sure, I'd read my Bible most days, even pray most days too. I was even a missionary, that's a pretty good deal, right? I wish. I loved what I was doing, but at the same time I still didn't get it.

Don't get me wrong, I know I was at Coastlands because God put me there, and I wasn't doing it halfheartedly, it's not like I was when I was in high school. I was there and I loved it, and God enabled me to succeed at it, but I still was missing it. I needed more, I needed to step up even more. I was getting by, I was skating in my relationship with Christ, God wanted more.

God wanted more of me and wanted me to want more of Him. Well, you did it God. I want more of you, I want to give you more of me.

I love James 1:18 "But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do." That's where I am now. I don't read my Bible because I feel I have to, I read because I want to, I pray because I want to, I strive to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit because I want to. Does that mean if we don't want to, we shouldn't? Absolutely not! Sometimes we're not going to feel like it, but we still should because the Bible tells us to. My hope would be that while you are doing it because you have to a bit of you wants to want to.

I'm getting a bit rambly so I'm going to share a hymn with you now..."Come Thou Fount"

1. Come Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of God's unchanging love.

2. Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I'm come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

3. O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let that grace now like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

God Bless You!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Take Heart

"But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:1,2

Before I started my quiet time this morning, I had no idea what I was going to write about. I had thought about a couple things, responding to something I saw online perhaps, but then I read the above passage and I realized what a great promise that is. It reminds me of the poem titled "Footprints" which I was discussing with a good friend the other day. God promises us first that He will be with us. We had been previously promised this in Deuteronomy 31:6.

Look at what that passage also promises us..."When you pass through the waters...and when you pass through the rivers...when you walk through the fire." We'll have troubles, we'll go through rough times, life isn't going to always be rosy, but it's ok, in light of the last set of promises..."I will be with you...they will not sweep over you...you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."

I've had a few times where I've sat down and been able to convince myself that life is perfect. There have been many more times when I can sit down and see that life is far from perfect. What I've gone through this summer is probably the hardest thing I've had to go through, but it's been in this ordeal that I've been able to trust God the most, and when I've grown the closest to Him. One of the verses I've clung to is John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

This wasn't the way I thought my ankle issues would end, I thought and prayed for some kind of healing, not knowing I was putting God in a box. I thought I knew how the healing would look like, I thought it would be with two of my own ankles, I was wrong. Will I be healed? Yup, I'll be able to walk again and I'll be free of the pain I've been dealing with the last several years, that seems like healing to me. It's kind of like when you're looking at getting supper ready, and instead of having to go to the grocery store to get the ingredients, a friend drops by with a pizza. You're still fed, it's just different than how you expected.

Take heart!

Today's hymn...I'd Rather Have Jesus

1. I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands;
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand
* Refrain:
Than to be the king of a vast domain,
Or be held in sin’s dread sway;
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.
2. I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame;
I’d rather be true to His holy name
3. He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs;
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead

Friday, October 8, 2010


"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

Ever since I first read the book of Philippians, I've absolutely loved it, and it has been my favorite book of the Bible ever since. I know there's not one book of the Bible more important than another, but Philippians has really resonated with me for quite a while now. I think it's because the idea of contentment is so hard to grasp. Contentment is not something that's popular today. I think it's because too many people mistake contentment with complacency.

I used to, I'd think that it was ok whether I had ambition or not. God doesn't want us to give up and decide this must be our lot in life, God wants us to want more. And I'm not saying I have a magic formula to make you rich if you send me twenty dollars God will answer all your requests, though I'd be ok with that...:) God wants us to want to work for more. I'm learning about this as I start my physical therapy, I will only get more mobile if I want to get more mobile. The first thing I was asked when I got to rehab was what my goals are, if my goals are to do everything from my wheelchair, then that's ok, we'll just work on getting me in and out of my wheelchair and around while I'm in it.

But, that's not alright with me. I am planning to be back to where I used to be, maybe not running any marathons, but that wasn't really in the plans anyway. I will be back to ministry, and it won't take forever, I truly believe that's what God wants for me. What I have to do until then is stay faithful, wait to see what He has in store for me, but be faithful with what I believe He has asked me.

I'm back to hymns today, this one is "Tis So Sweet To Trust in Jesus"

1. ’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”
* Refrain:
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!
2. Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!
3. Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.
4. I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

Let that be your prayer today.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Making A Trade

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body." 2 Corinthians 4:7-10

I know, kind of a long passage today, but as I was reading my Bible this morning, this is what stuck out to me. I think it sums up pretty well what's going on with me. First of all, I was told yesterday that I was handling what's going on with me "like a champ", I couldn't take the credit for it,I said that there was no way I could have handled it on my own, I had to let God take care of it for me, I still do. I know that hard times are coming, I'm starting rehab tomorrow and I'm sure that's not going to be a piece of cake.

But I think that leads well into the next part of the verse, hard pressed, but not crushed, persecuted, not abandoned, struck down, not destroyed. Struck down, but not destroyed, that brings on a whole new meaning for me now. I would never claim to compare what I've gone through with what a soldier has gone through, but the end result is similar, a limb lost. I have the utmost respect for those in the armed forces and they have my eternal gratitude, but s doctor told me that, thanks to the way, there have been great advances in prosthetic devices.

I am struck down, I am not destroyed. I am hobbled, but I'm not down for the count. One of the lessons I taught a few weeks ago at the school I was able to to to, was titled "TKO or Te Deum?" And it essentially boiled down to this question...when something bad happens, are you going to let it get you down and let it stop you in your tracks, or are you going to give it ti God? Te Deum is an ancient Latin song of praise to God, literally translated it means "you of God's" That's what I'm choosing to do, I'm giving this to God, don't ever let me forget that.

I'm going to break from sharing hymn lyrics to sharing a worship song, and I think it's obvious what one I'm going for..."Trading My Sorrows"

I'm trading my sorrows
I'm trading my shame
I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord

I'm trading my sickness
I'm trading my pain
I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord

And we say yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord Amen

I'm pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I'm blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure
And his joy's gonna be my strength

Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning

This song has new meaning for me now, I've sung it a ton of times, but I think now I will sing it with a whole new perspective.

Let me end with the last few verses of that chapter in 2 Corinthians...
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

This Is My Story

"Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done." Psalm 105:1

Sounds like kind of a funny verse for me to write, huh? For someone who just lost a foot. Sorry, but I can't help it, I know that this will ultimately glorify God, and the great thing about that is I don't yet know how, but I am convinced that it will. On Sunday, my pastor preached about joy and he gave a great definition; Joy = Contentment + Confidence + Celebration. That doesn't mean we're always supposed to walk around with a mile on our face and always be happy even when things are rough. But it means we can always look to the promise in Romans 8:28..."And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Things haven't just been made easier for me, but I know this is God's plan for me and therefore it's for my good.

I also can't ignore the command given in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

All this to say the surgery went well, praise God! I came through it fine, God steered the doctor's hands and I've been in my hospital room since yesterday, sorry I didn't get an entry in yesterday, but I was pretty tired and groggy. Today, I stood using a walker and I was able to get out of bed and into a wheelchair fairly smoothly. I should be headed to inpatient rehab tomorrow or the next day.

My hymn for today is "Blessed Assurance"
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long;
this is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight!
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest!
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with his goodness, lost in His love

Let's all praise our savior, all the day long.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Is It Well With My Soul?

"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?" Psalm 8:3,4

Years ago, I changed the way I prayed for, really, I changed what I prayed for. I was in a prayer group with several other single guys and I realized that we often prayed the same thing week after week. I'm not going to share what it was, but after a while I realized that I wasn't praying how I think God would want me to pray. I was treating God like Santa Claus, my prayers would go something like this "God, If it's your will, please allow me to have..." And I'm pretty sure I was throwing in the "if it's your will" part just to sound better, but really I was saying "I want this, and I want that. I want, I want, I want!" That is, until the following passage really sunk in..."I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." (Philippians 4:11, 12)

After that, my prayer changed, it turned into "Lord, there are things I have, and things I don't have and each presents challenges, please help be to be content with what I have." I think that God has been working on me in this ever since, and that was almost a decade ago. I'm not there yet, there are days that I still long for what I don't have, things that others take for granted.

Tomorrow I will have my foot amputated. I'm sure there will be many, many times in the next few months and years where I will wish that I had that foot back. Things will be harder for the next few months, I'll be less mobile than I already am and maybe even in some pain. It'll be harder to do things like take a shower and get into the car. I don't say these things to make people feel sorry for me, I say them as a matter of fact. My prayer is still that I would be content whatever the situation I'm in. In Bible study the other day, I defined joy as the peace one has even when things are going bad, and the exuberance when things are going well. Joy is not happiness, it comes out of our relationship with Christ.

Yesterday I was reading about a girl who, at the age of 15, was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, and she would lose her sight. When she got home from that doctor's appointment, she sat down at the piano and played, by ear, "It Is Well With My Soul." She had taken lessons and memorized some songs, but this wasn't one of them. some people thought it was a miracle that she could go home and play that song from memory, but as she said "The miracle was not that I played 'It Is Well With My Soul,' but the miracle is that it actually was well with my soul."

That's where I am today. It is well with my soul, I am content with the decision I've made to have my foot amputated. and that's why the hymn I'm going to share today is..."It Is Well With My Soul"

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

I don't know if I'll get an entry in tomorrow, I have to leave for the hospital pretty early, but I'll try to get an entry done later in the day.

God Bless

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fixable People

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

I'm a broken person. You might think I'm talking about my feet and ankle issues, but I can tell you it goes much deeper than that. We are broken people. There isn't a person alive who is a whole person, and I can only think of one person in history who was a whole person. We are broken because we are a sinful people, that sin separates us from God. The wonderful news is that we aren't broken forever, we're not beyond fixing. We need to look to God and His redemptive work on the cross for our repair. We need to do that daily, hourly, every minute. That's why we have hymns like the one I shared a couple days ago "I Need Thee Every Hour." It's not written, "I needed you once, but that was it..." Yes, we only needed to ask for Christ to come into our hearts once, but we constantly need to be looking to Christ for the strength and guidance to make it through the day.

The key is to realize that we are broken, because then we can realize that we can be fixed. Let me say that again, WE CAN BE FIXED. Paul makes it pretty clear that once we've truly accepted Christ into our heart we are citizens of Heaven. (see Philippians 3:16 and 3:20) It's not something we're waiting for. I am eagerly waiting for the time when I am in Heaven and get to just constantly praise God without the cares of this world, but I have to wait a little while longer. That doesn't mean I can't continually praise Him while I'm here too.

I'm reminded of the bumper sticker that reads, "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven." I usually am not a bumper sticker person, at least for my car, but there is some truth to that sticker, we are forgiven. Asking for forgiveness is the first step in fixing a broken life.

It's also the first step in fixing a broken relationship. Part of the problem with being a broken people, is we're also pretty good at breaking relationships. But those again, are often something that can be restored. If you're the person who broke something, take the first step toward fixing it, ask forgiveness. I wish I had been better at this, it's never something that's easy, and I used to just not do it. I'd let my pride get in the way and just force people to accept me for what I've done or go away. That's a poor excuse for not acting in a Christlike manner, because most often, they just went away.

My hymn for today is Abide With Me...

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word;
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.

Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea—
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fix Your Focus

"You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." 1 John 4:4

Yesterday, I was reading a book that was given to me. In this book is a story about a Japanese soldier who, in 1945, didn't get the word that Japan had surrendered and World War 2 was over. When allied forced had arrived on the island where he was stationed he, along with a few other soldiers, took to the hills and cut contact with everyone. Over the next 29 years this soldier stayed in the hills of an island in the Philippines, the other soldiers either gave up or were killed when these soldiers fought with the people coming to tell them the war was over. When pamphlets or other types of information were dropped, he thought it was propaganda and didn't believe it. Finally, it took a college dropout and the soldier's former commanding officer to convince him the war was over.

I read this story and couldn't help but compare this soldier to Satan. Even though God is more powerful, and had already won, Satan still fights. The fight is over, it's not like the Earth is a great battlefield and we are waiting to find out who wins, Satan is defeated. I just love that. If you have any doubts, take a look at Philippians 2:5-11.

I must admit, I didn't sleep very well last night. Today is Friday, my surgery in Monday and today I find out the time for the surgery. I'm having a little trouble writing today, I think I'm mostly having trouble focusing. I need to take my focus off me and my troubles. Yes, I need to consider my life and I need to make sure to do what I can so everything turns out ok, but that shouldn't be my focus today or any other day.

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2) I'm going to fix my eyes on something else, I'm going to take my focus off me, and set it firmly on Christ.

My hymn for today...Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There's light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!


Thro' death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion
For more than conqu'rors we are!

His word shall not fail you He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well;
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

Let's all do that, today turn your eyes upon Jesus, take a day to take your focus off your problems, and look to Jesus.