Devotional - November 2015

 

Monday, Nov 30

As we come into the Advent Season, and start preparing our hearts for the coming of the Christ child, we turn our thoughts to the hope He brings into our lives. As we look at the world in which we live, many are looking, searching, begging for some type of hope. The worst curse word isn't a four lettered word, but rather eight lettered.........hopeless. When you have nothing to cling to, you have no hope. When you're under the impression that things will never get better, you have no hope. When all you can see is darkness, you have no hope. Hope doesn't come in the form of a government program nor a political candidate, but rather from one who offers security for eternity and a release from all the sins that burden one's life. Why do you think He's called the Prince of Peace? It is peace that He offers to a life in chaos. As you approach Christmas, where is your Hope? Moreover, do you really have any? His hope is there for the asking. So why not ask? Godspeed.


Sunday, Nov 29

As I watched the Les Miles saga play out last week, I couldn't help but think, we moved from: "What have you done for me lately" to "What have you done for me today." Now understand, I come at this topic from a biased point of view in that my brother is a coach. But I'm also concerned about this philosophy because it has made its way into the church. No longer are we raising disciples, but rather consumers and fans. Attendance down? Offering low? The church seem stagnant? No people walking the aisle? Well it must be the preacher's fault. I've often said this: "Preachers get too much credit and they get too much blame." Unfortunately when you look at the state of Mississippi, we fire ministers at a rate of one a week. That doesn't count the ones who were forced to resign or took another position due to pressure. God can't be pleased with that. But then again, hey it's all about us and what we want. Right? Thanks Les for maintaining your class when dealing with classless people. Thank you LSU faithful for saying: "Enough, not on our watch." More churches should do the same. Godspeed.


Saturday, Nov 28

In my opinion, cleaning your house for company can be considered the height of hypocrisy. It's as if you're saying: "Look! Here's how we live all the time. This is the shape of our house every day!" Furthermore, your guest leave in conflict, arguing with each other as to why their house can't look the same, all clean and neat. Likewise, many of us have carried this into the church. We put on a good front as to communicate: "All is well in this household!!! No problems here! We're just leaning on the everlasting arms!" Meantime, our lives are falling apart and the one place we ought to find redemption and understanding is the church, but we're too afraid to admit it. No house is always clean, especially if there are children present, and no one has everything in their life perfect. That's exactly why we need a Savor. He can help cleanse even the messiest of lives. And as for you house, we already know it's not always that clean!!! Godspeed.


Friday, Nov 27

I can remember when Black Friday had a totally different meaning. It wasn't a day when people braved the weather, crowds, and clock, to get the best shopping deals for Christmas. Rather, it was a day when the world stood still. It was a time when we remembered humanity at its worst, but God at His best. Black Friday was when the words: "It is finished " were uttered to indicate more than a conclusion of a life. It is finished, everything necessary for salvation. It is finished, demonstrating how to live in complete harmony with the Father. It is finished, clearly showing the greatest act of love ever. It is finished........death and Hell now conquered. We've come a long way in society, but not too far to escape the fact that we need a savior. Not a political savior, but one who will save us from our sins. That's what the real Black Friday is all about. Remember it??? Godspeed


Thursday, Nov 26

While you're enjoying your Thanksgiving dinner today with friends and family, remember those who are facing this time of year for the first time without that special person in their lives. Also, remember the less fortunate in our country who have no home nor family and will be spending this day alone. Pray for those who no one prays for, the isolated, the dejected, and the outcast. Be sure to remember just how blessed you are, sometimes even in the darkest of days. God is Good. Godspeed and oh by the way, I'm thankful for all of you. Have a blessed day and a Happy Thanksgiving.


Wednesday, Nov 25

Stop treating your children like a child. I'm not talking about your elementary school, middle school, or high school children, but rather your adult children. Stop treating them like a child. Allow them to grow up and face the world and accept a little responsibility for their actions. Far too many parents have enabled their children all the way to adulthood. If you're old enough to get married, have children, hold a job and live in the real world, then you're old enough to be an adult. But many of us as parents want to "do" for our children, even when they are adults. I mean, why should they have it as rough as us? Right? Wrong! When we don't allow our children to be inconvenienced as adults, then they feel the world revolves around them. I've seen too many parent wear themselves thin doing for their adult children. Love them, support them, but don't enable them. They'll be better in the long run, and you'll be around longer to enjoy them. Godspeed.


Tuesday, Nov 24

It's easy to sit back and see how bad you have it in life. To focus on the negatives rather than the positives. It's whole lot easier to look at others and wonder why they have it better than you. One word, one action, one thought in the middle of the day can change our whole outlook in life and get us to focus on the bad. We tend to talk a lot about faith, and following God, but at the first hint of adversity, we wonder where He has gone. Today, even in the darkest of days, just stop for a moment and think about one positive aspect of your life. Thank God for it. Then, think of another, then another. You see, your soul is the color of your thoughts. Stop dwelling on the dark and let the light shine in. Seems as though I've read somewhere: "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot comprehend it." Whoever wrote that knew what they were talking about. Godspeed.


Monday, Nov 23

I believe it was Albert Schweitzer who once said: " I'm haunted by the lack of gratitude I demonstrated in my youth." Over the years I've thought about that sentence a lot. How much gratitude or thanks did I show to my parents, teachers, coaches, friends, church leaders or bosses? If there's a mulligan I'd like to have in life, it would be to hug my mother and father one more time and simply say: "Thank you!" So much of what we have in life we take for granted. Some even feel entitled to what they have. Other believe they deserve the good things they've received. But I can tell you this, be grateful you're not getting what you deserve. This is a special week with an important emphasis as we celebrate Thanksgiving. Don't squander the moment and forget to thank God for the blessings you received. I just hope my parents realized how truly grateful I was even though I didn't say it nearly enough. Godspeed.


Sunday, Nov 22

Did you know that think and thank come from the same root word? Mrs. Thompson, my high school English teacher would be so proud of me for knowing that. I believe it takes a thoughtful person to be a thankful one. Too often we take the simplest things in life for granted. Rather than expressing thanks, we assume we're entitled to the blessings of life. If indeed we were to count our blessings each day, as the song suggests, we truly see how much the Lord has blessed us far more than we deserve. That's a fact, Jack!!! Godspeed.


Saturday, Nov 21

There are moments in our lives when we may want something more than God wants at that time. There may be a job, an opportunity, a material possession, physical healing, a financial opportunity, or a mended relationship that we want resolved at this time. For all practical purposes, we can't understand why it's not getting taken care of now. All of a sudden, the opportunity passes us by, and we missed the boat. But why? It's seemed so right, so perfect, yet it didn't happen. It made sense to us, but did it make sense to God? There's my time, your time, and God's time. Maybe you wanted it more than He wanted it for you. His time is always the right time. It's one of the hardest lessons to learn. Trust in the Lord. Godspeed.


Friday, Nov 20

I guess in the minds of so many, all roads lead to Rome. In other words, it doesn't matter what you believe about God, just as long as you believe in some form of God. That my friend is a slippery slope and a devil's lie. There is but one God, and He is Jehovah God. He is the God of Abraham, Issac, David, Daniel, Peter, and Paul. He uniquely revealed himself in the form of His son, Jesus Christ who lived, died, raised himself from the dead, and ascended to the right hand of the Father where He is making intercession for you and me. He lives and moves in people's lives today by the Holy Spirit. The Bible is his instruction book to his people as to how we are to live our lives. He is coming again to establish his earthly Kingdom. So it does matter what you believe because even if all roads lead to Rome, not all religions lead to God and eternal life. So don't tell me it doesn't matter what you believe as long as you believe in something. That something can and will be the difference in Heaven and Hell. Godspeed.


Thursday, Nov 19

Social media outlets, such as Facebook have provided us with outlets to express our political, social, religious, and even personal opinions. And believe me, there's no shortage of opinions out there. Some are valid while others, well, let's say you kind of wonder what planet they're living on these days. In some ways, these avenues can help you. For example, when I struggle with a hot topic issue, I mean one that really gets people up in arms. To help me, I just click on a couple of my friends and look at their views on the subject, then I pull a George Costanza, I do the opposite. This way I figure I'm closer to correct side based on their opinion. The other side is true, I also follow people I trust and respect their opinions as well. So you see, in addition to prayer and research, some of you are helping me each day. Thanks for your help, even if you weren't aware of it. Godspeed.


Wednesday, Nov 18

There seems to be a lot of talk today about walls and borders. The Bible says a great deal about both. The 10 commandments were give to us as borders or parameters for living. Jerusalem, itself, was a city built with walls around it for protection. As a matter of fact, in the Old Testament, Nehemiah was commissioned by God to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall around it. So as we look at what's going on in our world today, how do we as Christians address the current situation about refugees seeking sanctuary in our nation? Well, I'm about the least qualified person to address this, but some sense has to be made of this. First, as Christians were are taught by Jesus to: "love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us." That's our responsibility. However, it is the government's job to protect its citizens. That's a biblical principle. For years I worked under the assumption that the Islamic religion was mainly a peaceful one. George W. Bush said it himself. The Islamic religion is a false religion because it is not based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. A good way to determine if a religion is false or not, ask these simple questions: First, do they add anything to the gospel. Second, do they subtract anything from the gospel? With that being said, the Islamic faith claims Muhammad received the verbal word of God known as the Quran. Over 30 times it calls for death to the infidels. In the teachings of Jesus, where does he call for any such action? The radical Muslims have one agenda and one agenda only, that is to seek and destroy people like you and me. When was the last time a radical Christian killed a group of innocent people? Allowing anyone and everyone without documentation into our country is to invite mass destruction. The US has an obligation to protect her people. I'm praying for sanity in an insane situation. Hope you are as well. Godspeed.


Tuesday, Nov 17

When Jesus said: "When someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other as well" (Matt. 5:39, Luke 6:29), he was not suggesting that one get the snot beat out of them!!! He was mainly dealing with insults. The Christian Faith is not a call to to weak, but meek. The word meek would imply strength under control. I don't think for a minute that our Lord would suggest that we should never defend ourselves. After all, even Jesus took a whip a drove the money changers out of the Temple. There comes a time, when evil has to be dealt with decisively and forcefully. In other words, when dealing with radical people, you can't deal with them logically nor rationally. I've thought over the last few days about the shape of our world. Imagine if you will, if WWII had been fought today with our media and social networks. We could have never achieved victory and changed the world. Can you even fathom how different our world would be? I've been very reluctant to speak out about our situation, but it's time our leaders wake up. We need leaders who understand our enemy's only agenda is to destroy us and our way of life. It's time to throw political correctness out the window and say: "No more! Not on our watch." Stop allowing people in our country who want to destroy us!!!! How logical is that? We need leaders with not only backbones, but Godly wisdom. We see neither in our current administration. I'm not judging, just being a fruit inspector. It's still not too late, but it's going to take Godly people standing up for the values our parents and grandparents fought for in WWI and WWII. True evil has to be eliminated, just as we dealt with Hitler. Why am I a little more outspoken and ticked off? My grandfather was Joseph Perreault a full blooded Frenchman. This one is personal. God help us, because our President is clueless. Godspeed my friends


Monday, Nov 16

There are moments in the ministry when you wonder: "Does anything I do make a difference?" Now don't get me wrong, I fully understand this calling is not about one's self, but the human side of you deals with these questions on a regular basis. And then, without much warning, one of your former youth members, who's now a judge, calls for advice. Or a former member you thought for years really didn't care for you, calls to tell you they love and miss you. Or one of your former youth members leaves his tailgate group of college kids and comes and hangs out with you on game day. Then the next morning he gets in his truck and drives back to Columbus to hear you preach. This is such a hard vocation because 90% of what you deal with is negative. However, the rewards of seeing someone come to Christ, or an individual take their walk to a deeper level, encourages the weary to keep on in the battle. God knows when we need those moments of encouragement and he sends those angels to us just in the right time. Godspeed.


Sunday, Nov 15

Have you ever thought about what belongs to God? Everything you have, everything you are, and everything you'll ever have. God expects you to be a good steward of what He has entrusted unto you. I've always tried to teach the three T's of Christianity: "Your time, talents, and tithe." What's funny is, over the last 20-30 years we lost an entire generation of tithers because if hasn't been taught to them by their parents or church. Whenever a preacher begins to talk about money, most folks automatically think: " There he goes again, that all he cares about." However, do you realize other than the Kingdom of God, there was nothing Jesus talked about more than money or possessions. As a matter of fact he said: "Where your treasures are, there your heart be as well." You may not like this, but if you're not a faithful giver of your financial resources to God through the local church, I'd question, not judge, but question your commitment. What you prize, you'll praise, what you praise, you'll give to in a loving spirit. You'll never out give God. Godspeed.


Saturday, Nov 14

They always say you can judge a person by the company they keep. I'm not sure that's accurate in all cases. A doctor spends most of his time with sick people, does that make him sick? A lawyer spends a lot of time with criminals.....(Okay, maybe not the best illustration.) My lawyer friends know I love them. Jesus spent a lot of time with sinners, although he never sinned. However, he met people where they were and loved them, then moved them to where He wanted to be. In doing this, he was judged harshly by the religious folks. Often I find myself in a similar situations. We may be eating out with friends and they will ask me if I mind if they have a glass of wine. I tell them, it doesn't bother me, I'm fine with my sweet tea. I appreciate their manners and concern, and in the past I been judged and admonished by the religious folks as being too accepting. To the contrary, my friends know where I stand, and any way, I'd rather be judged by them and God, rather than a Pharisees. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. I can't minister to someone if I don't know where they are. I know there will be some who don't like this, but I see too many people who are so Heaven minded that they're no earthly good. I want to extend relationships, not end them based on a judgmental spirit. Godspeed.


Friday, Nov 13

I've always been of the opinion that it's not good for the inmates to run the asylum. We're getting closer and closer to that situation everyday in this country. It seems as though in today's society you can accuse individuals of certain things and all of a sudden, due process goes out the window. I have no clue as to what all has taken place on the Missouri campus over the past year. If half of it's true, then something should have been done, no doubt. Now as stories start circulating, we hear things such as the following: A millionaire's son goes on a hunger strike because he is oppressed. Students lie about the presence of KKK on campus. The president of the student government is a gay Afrcan-American. A losing football team refuses to play. Finally a president resigns. And he probably should have. But not until the right process had taken place. So the event in Missouri have led to the events at Yale. And so the avalanche has started. My problem with all this, and I admit to not having all the facts, there is a right way and a wrong way of doing things. We've raised a generation of individuals who feel as though they are entitled to any and everything. Also, there is no respect for authority. Once you allow the inmates to run the asylum, it's hard to get it back. Godspeed.


Thursday, Nov 12

Yesterday we honored and paid tribute to our veterans, heroes if you will, to our country. Today, however, I want to talk about a different type of hero, spiritual heroes who have made an impact in our Christian journey. As a pastor, I've had so many individuals who have invested in my life and made a huge difference in where I am today. As I matter of fact, the more I think about it, the more I realize I've probably received more than I've given. That's both startling and embarrassing. In every church there's been those spiritual giants who have stood in the gap for a stupid preacher who they believed in and supported. There's no way I could list them, because laypeople have a tendency to get jealous and mad if their names aren't mentioned by the preacher. From Sparta, Kentucky all the way to Columbus, Mississippi there has been that individual who loved their pastor far more than what he deserved. They are in my spiritual hall of fame. Great saints of the faith. True spiritual heroes. I thank God for their friendship, there were times I wouldn't have made it without them. Godspeed.



Wednesday, Nov 11

Today on this Veterans Day, we should pause for a moment and remember all those who have served our nation to protect the freedoms we enjoy. My Dad was a WWII Vet, and I can tell you, he never talked about his experiences in the South Pacific. He was a Navy medic, and I can't imagine the sights he saw, nor the images which were ingrained in his mind. I can tell you this, the America he fought and served for, no longer exists. We have come to that place, as the Bible foretold: What is wrong seemed right and what was right seemed wrong. The real scary part is, most folks have accepted this as the new normal, even so called Christians. That's not only sad, but a tragedy which is being played out right before our eyes. Godspeed, but God help us, for we've seen the enemy and the enemy is us.


Tuesday, Nov 10

Do you have your day all neatly planned out? Do you have a pretty good idea what's on your schedule and how it's going to play out? However, have you ever thought about how quickly your entire life could change without a single warning? It happened this past weekend to two families in our area. First, Keith Joseph Jr., a redshirt freshman at Mississippi State, and his father, Keith Joseph Sr., former Mississippi State standout, were tragically killed in a one car accident following a high school football game. Another prominent family from our area, owners of the Golden Horn Restaurant, had a father and three sons involved in a car accident. The father and one son have already died, one son is still in critical condition. Saturday, a 14 year old girl was hit by a car in our area. She's home now recovering. Yesterday, one of my deacons was involved in a multi car accident which no one was hurt, but could have been very tragic. Don't ever say: "It won't happen to you." The question is: "How will you handle it when tragedy strikes unexpectedly?" The Psalmist wrote: "I will lift my eyes unto the hills, where does my help come from? It comes from the Lord." Prayers for these families and for you this day. Godspeed.


Monday, Nov 9

It's hard walking a blind, stubborn, self-sufficient dog! Even though she can't see, she knows exactly where she wants to go. Now this may include walking into the fence, the shed, or a tree from time to time. And to be honest, sometimes you have to let her do those things just to show her that you know best, and trust, even after all these years has to be demonstrated on her part. I would imagine God feels the same way. He does his best to steer us away from the land mines of life, but we stubbornly keep walking in the direction we want to go. Even after all these years, you'd think we'd learn to trust and follow Him, but no, we think we know best. So God, in his wisdom and love, allows us the freedom to go where we think is best. But isn't it funny, the moment we mess up, who do we call? Yep, and we expect Him to clean up the mess we created with our own disobedience. Why not just follow Him in the beginning? It'll be easier on all concerned and you'll save yourself and others a lot of headache. Godspeed.


Sunday, Nov 8

We as Christians have a tendency to say: "Jesus is the answer." However, the problem for most of our society is, they haven't figured out the question. He's the answer for a life drifting with no purpose. He's the answer to loneliness and rejection. He's the answer to the unloved and unwanted. He's the answer to the void in one's life. He's the answer to broken relationships. He's the answer to addiction. He's the answer to the meaning in life. And he's the answer to life after death. He's the answer to what love and sacrifice is all about. He's the answer to every problem you have or will ever face. Now then, when you know the questions, you can give the answer........Jesus. Godspeed.


Saturday, Nov 7

Have you ever reached a "narrow place" in life? A place where you either didn't know or just couldn't turn to your right or to your left. Maybe that narrow place came in the form of an illness, a rebellious child, a financial difficulty, or a spiritual void in your life. You've come to a place where you really don't know what to do. Even the most devout followers of Christ struggle in the presence of an absence. However, these narrow places never surprise or alarm God. He's prepared, willing, and more than able to pull you through those times. But here's the kicker.......sometimes we don't recognize his power and help until later on in life. It's when we look back that we recognize and understand, we never could have made it apart from his love and presence. You'd think we'd understand that by now, but most don't. Hang in there, help is already there. Godspeed.


Friday, Nov 6

I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone say: "Well the reason I don't come to your church is, it's filled with hypocrites." Well first, it's not my church. It belongs to and is under the leadership of our Lord Jesus Christ. Second, the church isn't a collection of saints, but rather a group of sinners saved by the grace of God. Third, true, they might be a bunch of hypocrites, but a least the majority of them are trying to do the right thing. Are they perfect, nope far from it, and each are struggling with something. Fourth, we may have a bunch of hypocrites, but I can tell you: WE'VE GOT ROOM FOR ONE MORE. Oh and by the way, it's time to stop blaming others and come to the reality that it boils down to your indifference to Christ and His church. Because at the end of the day, that's the real reason. Most don't want to admit it, but that's the simple truth. You might as well own it. Godspeed.


Thursday, Nov 5

I had the opportunity to attend a luncheon yesterday sponsored by Mission Mississippi. Mission Mississippi is a group committed to addressing the issue of racism in our state. The keynote speaker yesterday was Ronnie Floyd, president of the Southern Baptist Convention. This is and has been a personal issue with me that goes back to my childhood. As I look at our country today, I'm still bothered by the division in our country cased by racism. How does it get better? First it begins with Christians acting like Christians. Racism in any form is demonic and is of Satan. It doesn't come from God. Second, just treat people the way you want to be treated, regardless of how they treat you!!! Third, racism is a learned and taught behavior, so break the cycle. Judge people by their heart and not the color of their skin. We're all in this together so we better start getting along. After all, we're going to be with each other in eternity, well some of us will. For you see you can't love Jesus and hate your brother. That's biblical. Godspeed.


Wednesday, Nov 4

He either got on the elevator at the wrong time or the right time, depending upon your point of view. My youth minister and I were heading back down to the lobby of the hospital yesterday when a man joined us on a stop in between floors. He caught us in mid-conversation about an individual. Not gossip, nor slanderous, he was letting me know about the background of a person we've ministered to lately. David said: "He's a really good person." He knew this because he'd grown up with him. My reply, which shocked our third party: "Hell's going to be filled with good people." I wish I'd had a camera to capture the expression on this man's face. All he could muster up was: "Man, that's deep!" We need to realize this important fact: Apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ, there is no Heaven. Of that I'm sure. Shocking to hear, but truth nevertheless. Godspeed.


Tuesday, Nov 3

How well do you like yourself? That may seem like an odd question to ask, but it's sure one that's worth pondering. You see, you spend more time with you than anyone else. So, do you like yourself? What I've found out over the years is that most people don't think too highly of themselves, but rather suffer with a low self esteem. This is a fact, most of us feel the same way about ourselves as the most important person in our lives feels about us. So, when Christ becomes the center part of our lives, then we see ourselves in a different light. Now, we're not talking about narcissism, but rather proper love for one's self. Remember what the Bible says about such love: "Love your neighbor as you love yourself." You can't love others properly until you love yourself properly. Not an easy process because many of us feel unlovable. That is a devil's lie and don't you believe it for a minute. After all: "God demonstrated his love to us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Godspeed.


Monday, Nov 2

It's not your job to fix people. As a matter of fact, I'm sure neither you nor I have the ability to do so. And the realization of this fact drives many of us insane!! Why? Because many of us are fixers by nature. We love taking on a good project and seeing it through to completion. However, individuals are a totally different story. We can love them, accept them, encourage them, support them, but we can't change nor fix them. And as I alluded to earlier, we really don't have the ability to do so. So what is our responsibility and response? Well, I believe it's our job to love and accept people where they are and allow God's love and concern to be evident in our relationship with them. People don't want to be seen as someone's project, they want accepted for who they are. This by no means is a call for you to approve ungodly behavior. However, we love, because that's our job, and the Holy Spirit will work in a life to bring about change. Remember, the change you bring to someone's life is temporary, the change God brings is eternal. Godspeed.


Sunday, Nov 1

The other day I ran into a church member who hadn't been to a service in a long time. I told them we had missed them and the reply I received was one I've heard a million times. "Well nobody up there has missed me because I haven't heard from anyone." Well, her accusation wasn't totally accurate. I know for a fact their Sunday School teacher, as well as others have reached out. But it struck a nerve with me, and believe it or not, there are times when the filter from my brain doesn't work with my mouth. However, what I said, I'll say to you out there, because one of you is feeling the same way. Your feelings have been hurt at church and now you've assumed the role of Private Pout!!! I said: "Since when did church become about you? Our focus is about winning people to Jesus and making disciples. We shouldn't have to tell Christians they ought to be in church." Needless to say, my response wasn't well received. We've got to stop making church about ourselves!!!! When that happens, our entire attitudes change. Oh, by the way.....isn't that the point? Godspeed.

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