May 27

I remember when I first began my ministry, church members would often quote their former pastors. They all sounded so profound, so articulate and intelligent. So many times I’d walk away and think: “I’d like to say something like that, something memorable that would stay with the people. I’m not sure it ever happened and I’m sure at this stage of the game, it’s not important. It’s not important if the people remember what you said, but rather it’s more important to remember what God said through you.

The longer one’s in the ministry, the more you realize that you’re just a vehicle which God uses to communicate His truth. I’m reminded about the book of Jonah, as the prophet preached the word of God to a city about to be destroyed because of their wickedness. In that short book there is a very significant statement as the city comes to grips with their sinfulness and the need to repent. The writer penned these words: “And the city believed God.” It doesn’t say they believed Jonah, but rather they believed God.

So today, as I stand behind the Holy Desk, the question isn’t: “Will they remember what I said and believe it.” No, what’s important is if they believe God and remember His word. Godspeed my friends.

 

May 26

If you love God the exact way you did when you trusted your life to him, then something’s wrong. There is no neutral ground in Christianity. Each and every day we ought to be growing deeper in our faith. If you’re not, then rest assured, you’re regressing. We need to realize that faith doesn’t grow by osmosis. There has to be an intentional effort on our part. So you might want to take a spiritual inventory on your life.

How much time during an average day do you dedicate to God? How many minutes or hours do you spend in Bible study and pray? Maybe a better question would be: How much time do you spend on social media? Far too many of us grow frustrated in our faith and the reality is, we’ve put zero time in cultivating a one on one relationship with the living God. Before we know it, our worship becomes stagnant and meaningless because we’ve made no preparation for that time.

Don’t give God the dregs of your time, talents, and tithe. Give Him what he deserves, the very best of you for the rest of you. Then your relationship will blossom into something real and life changing. Why? Because you’ve, made it a priority rather than an afterthought. Godspeed my friends.

 

May 25

There are moments in our lives when we feel the warmth of God’s presence. Everywhere we go, He seems to be there. The vitality of that relationship is so real and so harmonious that it touches every aspect of our life. We look forward to each day with great expectation and anticipation because we know with every step, He’s there to guide our way. Prayer and worship come easy in these joyful times.

However, there are moments in life when God seems to be hidden from us. We search and we call out, but there seems to be no response. That sweet fellowship which we once knew is replaced with a cold and despondent heart. The circumstances of life seem to sweep over us like a tidal wave. We begin to question our faith and everything we’ve held as sacred. Have you been there? Have you felt that way before in your own life and walk with God? Well if you have, be of good cheer for you’re normal. Just at that moment when you think you’re all alone, there is a still and quiet voice that whispers in your ear: “I’m here, and nothing, I mean nothing will ever separate you from my love and presence.

Don’t buy into the lie that no one cares. God’s very aware of your situation and just when you think that the water is too deep, He extends his hand and will guide you to dry land. Sometimes all it takes is for you and me to trust that he’s there. Keep the faith for at times it’s all you have. The good news, at times it’s all you need. Godspeed my friends.

 

May 24

I’ve been told on more than one occasion, twice in the last week as a matter of fact, by two people I love and respect, so it must be true. It has been said of me: “We don’t ever have to wonder where you stand on anything because you’re going to let it be known.”  It would be nice, I guess, to be a little less outspoken and to go a long to get along.  But friends that’s just not how I’m cut. However, there are times that we all need to be quick to listen and slow to speak. In doing so, we can all save ourselves a world of hurt. At the age of 57, this is a lesson I’m still learning. We’re all still a work in progress. May God bless all of you this day with a His presence and His loving kindness. There are times in my life when your encouragement keeps me going. I’ll try to be a bit kinder and gentler in the days ahead. Godspeed and be safe.

 

May 23

There are certain things in life which you can only do on your own. We read in the Bible that we are to bear one another’s burdens and in doing so, we demonstrate the love of God. Ringo reminded us in the 60’s, that “we can get by with a little help from our friends”. It’s true that friends and family can help lighten the load that we carry. However, there are certain things we encounter in this journey called life that we must face on our own. No one can be born for you and no one can die for you. Those two things must be done on your own.

Grief is another aspect of life which is personal. The grief that you bear is your own. No one knows how you feel because every relationship and situation is different. There are certain pains in this life that you never get over. You just learn to live with it and manage the hurt. Yep, grief is personal, but so is the comfort of God. Sometimes his presence is so close that we have a hard time feeling it. It’s only after we come out of the fog that we see his hand print all over our lives and situation. So if you’re struggling in the darkness and God seems to be absent, maybe you need to be the one who moves closer because I can assure you, He’s already there. Godspeed my friends.

 

May 22

Many of us know what it’s like to sit by the bedside of our loved one and watch them struggle to hang on to life. There’s nothing more gut wrenching than seeing someone you love in a helpless state knowing that the doctors and nurses have done all they can do. As a pastor, I’ve prayed for healing with these people and their families only to see them pass from this earthly scene. A question comes to me from time to time from the loved ones left behind. “Why didn’t God do something? Did he not hear or care about the prayers we prayed?” Such questions aren’t easily answered in a time of grief and sorrow.

I can’t speak to that which I don’t know. However, I can address the questions asked with what I do know and understand. First, I fully believe that God answers every prayer we pray. He answers those prayers according to His will and not ours. Sometimes He answers those petitions with a “yes”, while other times He answers with a “no”. There are other moments when He simply says: “Not now.” You see, we don’t see everything that God sees. In the 13th chapter of I Corinthians, Paul reminds us: “Now we see as a dim reflection. We know in part. But one day we will know just as we are fully known.” In other words, one day we’ll see how every piece of the puzzle fits together. But not while we’re here on earth.

Finally, a valuable lesson we need to hear and understand which will shed light on the dark subject of death. The ultimate healing for a believer is death because it takes us into the presence of God. Remember, this life on earth is about loss. We lose our innocence, we lose our hearing, we lose our sight and we lose our loved ones. The next life is about gain. The old things pass away and all things are made new. It does take the sting of death away, but it does give us hope. I know without hope, all is lost. With Christ, hope is enough. Godspeed my friends.

 

May 21

Do you know who’s your most valuable friend? I didn’t say “best friend”, but rather your most “valuable friend”. The two aren’t always the same. Your most valuable friend is the one that’s willing to extend a rope to you and pull you out of the ditch. I found this to be true this past Saturday. I was mowing the grass as I’ve done hundreds of times before. As I was mowing along side the ditch in our yard, I got a little close to the edge. Because the ground was wet from the rain the night before, my back tire slid off into the ditch. With little warning, I found myself stuck. I don’t know if you know how much a zero turn mower weighs, but you’re not pushing it out of a deep ravine. Before I knew it, the neighbors across the street were coming to my aid. One had a chain, the other had a mower. In the blink of an eye my mower was out of the ditch. Those two were my most valuable friends at that moment.

The same is true in life. There are those unexpected individuals who come in our lives in the moments we need them the most. They don’t lecture us about the fact that we’re stuck. They don’t give us a 12 step program for getting out of the ditch. No, these individuals look at us and extend a rope, a chain, or a hand and lift us out of the pit. In doing so, they become the very hands of Christ himself. As you make your way through each and every day, be mindful of those who need a word of encouragement, or even a hand up. They don’t need to be reminded where they are, for they already know. What they need is someone who looks past the situation and gives them hope. Meet the need and you’ll become the friend. Maybe their most valuable friend. Godspeed.

 

May 20

So many individuals got up early yesterday morning in order to watch the Royal Wedding. I told my bride I have seen and done enough weddings that it wouldn’t hurt me to sleep in and catch the reruns. Much was made of the celebrities in attendance, the music, Meagan’s dress, Harry’s beard, and the ceremony itself. It’s not often that one gets to see a royal wedding.

However, I wonder how many will rise early this morning and attend another service involving royalty? For you see, the King of Kings is waiting for you to attend his service. There may not be as much pomp and circumstance as it was yesterday, but it should. Lives can and will be changed as individuals are adopted into the royal family. Hopefully we can be just as interested in what happens today as we were yesterday. Don’t miss the celebration. Godspeed my friends.

 

May 19

One of the hardest, if not the hardest,  aspects of my job is watching the people you love suffer. It could be the suffering of parents watching their child die right before their eyes. The suffering might be in an individual finding out they have cancer. The hurting party might include a wife holding the hand of a husband, the man who has been her whole world, as he slips from this world into the next. The suffering isn’t just limited to physical pain, it could be emotional or even spiritual. I’ve been with parents as they’ve bailed their children out of jail. All the hopes and dreams they had for that child have now gone up in smoke. When you’re standing with someone in pain and knowing you can’t stop it is sometimes a helpless feeling.

So what is the alternative? I guess one could be unattached, distance, or even removed from other people. However, that’s never been in my DNA as a pastor. As a minister, there’s no greater pain than watching people you love suffer. However, there is no greater privilege as a minister than to share in the sufferings of the people you love. It’s called bearing one another’s burdens. In doing so, we demonstrate the very love of Christ. And after all, isn’t that what we’ve been called to do? Not just ministers, but it’s required of all God’s people. Holding a hurting hand can make all the difference. Godspeed my friends.

 

May 18

This time of year is exciting for many families as they celebrate the graduation of their children. I know this Sunday at our church we’ll celebrate our Baccalaureate Service and honor the graduating class of 2018. Included in our group of seniors in the valedictorian of New Hope High School, Danielle Owens. Danielle plans to attend Mississippi College in the fall. She’s the third student that has chosen M.C. since we arrived here six years ago.

As students all over our country get ready to walk for their commencement services, many will graduate with honors and others with high honors. There will be some who will graduate Magna Cum Laude and others will graduate Suma Cum Laude. Me, I graduated praise and thank the Laude! I say that to encourage those who graduate in the middle of the pack, with no recognition. Your accomplishment is just as important as anyone else’s.

I graduated in 1979, 1983, 1989 and 1999. During my formal education, I was nothing but average. And that’s being generous. I never won any academic awards. (Not even for perfect attendance). However, God often uses average people in extraordinary ways. Hopefully my life has been used in a positive way to shape the Kingdom of God. Don’t give up on the students who are average. God may just be beginning His work in them. Godspeed.

 

May 17

I don’t know if you’ve taken the Laurel/Yanny test or not. If you don’t know what I’m talking about google it. Now I fully understand that my hearing isn’t what is use to be, but there’s no doubt that I heard “Laurel” every time. You take the test and discover what you hear. Sometimes it’s not as important what we hear, but rather who we hear. For many of us, we’re hearing the wrong voice.

There is a battle today for your attention and life. On one hand there is the voice of the world and all its influence. It’s calling you to live your life beneath the standard for which it was created. When we listen to the world, we compromise our lives and risk living in the darkness and all it’s danger. However, there’s another voice which calls your name. It is the call of God which commands you to live a life of purpose and direction. Apart from him, there is no light and there is no meaning. The question is: “Who are you listening to today?.” Scripture reminds us: “If you hear his voice, harden not your heart.” I pray you will listen to the right one today. Godspeed.

 

May 16

Have you ever been late for an appointment or work and decided to take a shortcut through some backroads? Every time you’ve taken these streets you’ve saved time. Except this time. As you travel you see a sign which reads: “Detour straight ahead”. Now you know there’s no way to get to your final destination on time. How frustrating is that?

However, life is filled with unexpected detours, isn’t it. You’ve finally saved enough money to take the vacation of a lifetime. However, the waterline in your house is busted. Detour straight ahead. You’ve looked forward to retirement all your life, now it’s time to live a little bit. However, you find out your health is threatened by an unknown tumor. Detour straight ahead. Your child is about to graduate from high school and you have all these plans for them to attend college. However, they break your heart by rebelling against those plans. Detour straight ahead. You and your spouse enjoy being with each other and you’re looking forward to growing old together. And unexpected call comes informing you of their death. Detour straight ahead. Your father or mother have always been your rock. Now their having trouble remembering your name. Detour straight ahead. Life is full of unexpected detours isn’t it.

What do you do when all of a sudden your life experiences a detour? Well it may sound simple, but you have to turn the navigation over to a higher power. God may not remove the detour sign, but he knows how to safely travel through it. Every time I’ve been lost, He’s safety brought me home. He’ll do the same for you. Of this I am sure. Godspeed and safe travels.

 

May 14

As parents, you have to teach your children certain lessons in life. Too many mothers and fathers are allowing outside forces to influence their kids. You can’t parent on autopilot nor by osmosis. You actually have to get your hands dirty and risk being unpopular with your children. Someone has to be the adult in the house.

However, in the fast pace world in which we live, the parents have handed their children over to the church to learn their religion. Our children have been shuffled off to the schools to get educated. Also, we hand our kids over to the world to learn their social skills. When our kids reach their teenage years, we wonder why they’re so hard to manage. The simple truth is, we haven’t invested in their lives nor have we provided the proper foundation for their existence.

Teach your child a proper balance in life. The balance they see in our lives between work, recreation, and faith will be their view of normal. So my question to my moms and dads out there is this: “What is the top priority in your life?” Don’t be surprised if your children choose the same thing for their lives. Godspeed my friends.

 

May 13

My Mother could be funny when she really wasn’t trying to be, if you know what I mean. After she retired, she got a part time job as a hostess at the local funeral home. One day while talking to her, I asked if they’d been busy at work. She responded by saying: “Oh my, yes. We’ve had people dying who have never died before.” Yep, that was my Mother and I miss her just as bad today as I did the day she went to be with the Lord.

When my Mother would get frustrated, like the time that Pete talked me into buying my stereo. She had an expression that she used on a regular basis. “Lord, just bury me on the lone prairie.” This was an all inclusive expression as it had many interpretations. However, every son heard these words many times. When Mom passed away, we didn’t bury her on the lone prairie. I’m not sure where it’s located. However, she was laid to rest in Jackson, just off of Clinton Boulevard. I don’t visit the cemetery very often. I find no comfort there. For I know she’s not really buried there. She’s really buried deep within my heart. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I love you to the moon and back. Godspeed my friends.

 

May 12

Over the last few days I’ve shared with you some of the lessons I learned from my Mother. As the years pass by, the more I realize how much influence my Mom had on my life. One valuable lesson she passed on to me was the importance of having a sense of humor. In other words, don’t take yourself too seriously. I remember a conversation I had with my Mom towards the end of her life. She had asked me to preach her funeral. I told her that was something I’d do but it would be hard. She replied: “If you preach my funeral, I can assure you, I’ll never ask you to do another thing.” Yep, that was my Mom! Godspeed, my friends.

 

May 11

My Mother taught me so many life lessons while I was under her roof. One of the most valuable was about family loyalty and protection. You could talk about my Mother all you wanted and she didn’t mind. However, if you attacked her husband or children, you better give your soul to Jesus because the rest of you belonged to her. Now, one of the biggest differences in her and today’s parents was, she didn’t get caught up in small everyday problems. She only got involved if her child was being threatened or treated unfairly. Let me give you an example.

When I was around 11 years old I had extremely long, long hair. One day while practicing summer baseball, one of the parents started taunting me about the length of my hair. He called me a girl and suggested that the whole team hold me down and give me a red belly (this is a physical act of continuously hitting one’s bare stomach until it is extremely red) and cut my hair. After that practice I told my parents I didn’t want to play baseball anymore. When pushed for a reason, I finally told them what had taken place at practice and my fear of returning. My Mom told my Dad not to worry about it and she’d take care of it.

The next day, Mom sent my older brother Al to do a little investigating into the situation. Sure enough, it started all over again. Al moved a little closer to the individual and made the suggestion that he should keep quiet. After practice, Al gave his findings over to my Mom. All it took was one telephone call from my Mom. I don’t remember what all she said, but I never had another problem with that individual. As a matter of fact, over the years that man became like another father to me.

Don’t ever mess with one of Mama Bear’s cubs. Mom always let us stand up on our own two feet. However, if someone tried to push us down. She was there. For that I will be eternally grateful. Godspeed my friends.

 

May 10

I know as we draw closer to Mother’s Day, you are reminded of the many lessons you learned from your Mom. One of my Mom’s favorite expressions was: “There are some and then there are others.” In order to fully understand this valuable expression, you’d have to understand my Mom. I’m not sure I ever knew someone who was more comfortable in her own skin than my mother. She didn’t give a tinker’s cuss what other people thought about her. If you like her, fine. If you didn’t like her, fine. Either way she was comfortable being herself.

One of the greatest lessons she taught me was to be myself, regardless. My mother always encouraged her children to not get caught up in the crowd, but to be ourselves. There are “some”, the crowd or the popular way, and then there are “others”, those who dare to be different. If you don’t know this by now, I’m an “other” and proud of it.

You see, the crowd isn’t always right. All you have to do is assemble a crowd and automatically, the collective IQ of the group drops 30 points. Don’t you remember it was the crowd who Hailed the entrance of Jesus when he came into the Holy City of Jerusalem. And just a few days later, the crowd called for his execution. Sometimes a majority means all the dunces are on the same side.

So who are you? A “some” or an “other”? Don’t be afraid to be different. Marching to the beat of a different drummer isn’t always a bad thing. As a matter of fact, God does amazing work in the lives of folks who aren’t afraid to be themselves. Godspeed my friends.

 

May 9

Another lesson I learned from my mother centered around the handling of hurtful things said by hurtful people. When I’d come to her with tears in my eyes following an encounter with an individual who spoke harmful words to me, my mother would often say: “Consider the source.” I’m not sure where she learned this valuable lesson , but it might be traced all the way to her childhood.

My mother’s father, my grandfather, was a full blooded Frenchman from Massachusetts. He fell in love with a southern belle and followed her to the Deep South. However, being a Yankee, a Roman Catholic, and a foreigner, he encountered a lot of hostility in a Mississippi county seat town. I know he and his family heard a lot of hateful things said to them and about them. Maybe my mom learned this lesson and passed it on to her children. “Consider the source.”

Consider the source. There are a lot of unhappy people in this world who take great pleasure in hurting others. Somehow, some way these individuals can somehow validate themselves by tearing others down. Don’t get caught up in their worlds. Just consider the source and move on.

Consider the source. There are individuals out there who love to being in “the know”. They repeat gossip without the slightest interest of knowing if it’s true or not. They just love being the first to say: “Did you hear...” Consider the source and move on.

This phrase can be used in a variety of situations. When dealing with an irrational individual....consider the source. In those moments when you’re talking to a high maintenance friend and getting no where.....consider the source. This simple sentence can save you a lot of heartache and time. Sometimes it’s best to be the bigger person and just, yep, you got it, CONSIDER THE SOURCE. Godspeed my friends.

 

May 8

As we work our way towards Mother’s Day, I want to share with you over the next few days lessons I learn from my mother. Mom would often say: “There’s no hate quite like Christian hate! As a pastor’s wife, my mom saw first hand the grumbling, fussing and fighting that often happened in the church life. Where there are two Baptist, there will be four opinions. This was never more clear as it was in the mid 70’s when my Dad lead our church to an open door policy. What this meant was, regardless of race, anyone was welcomed in our church. You might not think this was a big deal, well it was a huge deal in the Mississippi Delta in the 70’s.

As a result of that decision, our church lost over a hundred members. Our house was egged and our outside lamps were destroyed. I remember sitting in my 7th grade math class and having two former church members cast racial slurs in my direction. I recall going home and talking to my Mom about the situation. I can hear her now saying: “There’s no hate quite like Christian hate.”

I’ve been drawn back to that lesson over and over during my ministry. I’ve come to understand it more clearly as the years pass by. It’s amazing to see how God’s people treat those who have a different point of view than them. We’re often quick to judge and slow to compassion with those who are struggling in life. Remember the words of Billy Graham: “It’s our job to love. The Holy Spirit’s job to convict. And God’s job to judge.” Jesus reminded us that the world will know his disciples by how they love one another. Maybe the simple act of love is what’s missing in so many lives and churches today. Lord knows we need his love now more than ever. Godspeed my friends.

 

May 7

My Mother was a chronic worrier. She worried about not having something to worry about. I asked once: “When are you going to stop worrying about me?” Her reply was something I’ll never forget. She said: “The day I stop worrying about you is the day I draw my last breath.” Most moms out there would echo her words when talking about their children. I’ve often wonder: “What are the mothers going to worry about when they get to Heaven?” There’s a difference in unnecessary worry and loving concern about your children. We need to have a healthy balance.

Worry is interest on a note before it comes due. Unnecessary worry will rob you of the joy of this day. There’s a simple formula that I’ve used over the years. It’s become so common that often some of my church members throw it up into my face and remind me of my own philosophy. “If you can change things, then change them. If you can’t change them, then don’t worry about it.” Many of us would do well to follow this simple reminder in life.

Worry is counterproductive. You can’t add one minute to your life by worrying. As a matter of fact, just the opposite takes place. We actually takes time off of our life by worrying. It’s also a form of atheism. When we worry about life, we demonstrate that we really don’t believe the promises of God. Don’t let the worries of life robe you of the joy God wants you to experience this day. For to miss the joy, is to miss everything. Godspeed my friends.

 

May 6

The two most important days in a person’s life are, the day they were born and the day they discover why they were born. We celebrate the first day annually with gifts, cards, and cake. Unfortunately, many never discover the answer to the second. Too many people drift through this experience called “life” never knowing why they were put on this earth. Life isn’t a spectator sport, there is a call for us to be involved and participate. God created you for one reason and one reason only. That reason, when discovered can change everything you are and hope to be. You were created to bring God glory.

Do you remember when we would sing: “Rise and shine, and give God the glory, glory. Children of the Lord.” Could you imagine how different things would be if we gave God the glory? You might ask: “What does it mean: “To give God the glory?” It means, to make God look good. To magnify, exhalt, or honor.” In everything we do, we should do not for our glory, but for the glory of God. When we do this, then we discover the purpose of our lives. Godspeed my friends.

 

May 5

One of the benefits of my job is sharing hallmark moments in other people’s lives. Such was the case last night. Tommi Jo and I had the opportunity to attend a penning ceremony for two of our girls graduating from nursing school. It seems like just the other day we were watching these two getting ready for their senior prom. Since that time I’ve watched them mature and grow into the fine young ladies that they are. Last year I had the high honor of performing the wedding of one of these young ladies.

A minister is viewed differently by the congregation over a period of time. For the first couple of years at a church you referred to as, “the preacher”. After about five years, when you’ve had the opportunity to bury a few members and marry a few off, you become “the pastor”. The pastor is one who shares life experiences with his congregation. If you stay 7 years or more, and it takes a while, you become their “leader”. However, it’s hard to be the leader if you’ve never been the pastor. I’m thankful for the blessings God has given me over the years as I have tried to pastor the people I love. I’m not sure there’s a higher calling on this earth. Godspeed my friends.

 

May 4

I don’t know if you’re a big fan of the Hallmark Channel or not. But every Hallmark movie has the exact same plot and story line. Boy meets girl. Girl hates boy. Girl is engaged to another guy. Girl falls in love with the guy she originally hated. Girl tells her fiancé to hit the road. Fiancé wants what’s best for the girl. The girl and the boy she hated finally get together and somehow save Christmas. It may not be exactly like that, but it’s pretty close.

The story line for our lives is pretty similar. We are created in the image of God. Humanity rebels against God. God desires to have humility come back into a right relationship with him. Humanity looks for purpose and meaning in life. God sends his only son to pay the price for humanity’s sin. Humanity has the choice to either accept the gift of salvation or not.

The big difference in the two story lines is this. It’s not a given that everyone will accept the gift of salvation through Christ Jesus. In the Hallmark movies, everyone lives happily ever after. Only those who humble themselves before the cross and ask Christ in their hearts will live forever. The choice is ours to make. Godspeed my friends.

 

May 3

Heavenly Father, we come into your presence on this day which our nation has set aside for prayer realizing we don’t come to you near enough. We have made decisions on our own, with little regard for you, and in doing so we have created a mess. Remind us that we must turn from our wicked ways and seek you, then you will hear our prayers and heal this nation. May that be our desire this day.

We pray for our nation and our national leaders. We ask that they would realize that the right to govern doesn’t come from the people, but rather by the hand of God. We ask that all decisions they make would be done so with a great deal of prayer. We ask that our leaders would remember that every life matters, both the born and the unborn. I pray that we wouldn’t become so politically correct that we forget to seek your favor rather than the favor of those who scream the loudest.

Heavenly Father, we pray today for our churches. We ask that we would truly be serious about our worship and our relationship with you. Forgive us for making church about our needs and wants. Remind us that you are seeking those who wish to worship you in spirit and in truth. Give our preachers the boldness and courage to preach the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We haven’t been called to be successful, but rather obedient.

Gracious Father, we pray for our homes and the families which occupy them. Forgive us for bringing false gods into our living rooms and bowing down to them. Help our parents to be strong enough to actually parent their children rather than be friends with them. Help our homes to be places of love and acceptance. Remind us that “unless the Lord builds a house its builders labor in vain.” 

Father, we love you and ask that you would forgive us of our sins of commission and omission. Those things we’ve done and those things we should have done. We realize we aren’t worthy of your grace and mercy. But we thank you for giving us a way to come to you through Jesus Christ. We pray this prayer in his name, amen.

 

May 2

Yesterday morning I selected my coffee pod and placed it in the Keurig machine like I’ve done hundreds of times before and walked away. As I looked back at the coffee maker, I noticed something was missing. I had forgotten to place my coffee mug under the stream of freshly brewed java. In a mad hurry, I frantically searched for a mug. When I finally had it in place and the brewing was done, only about a fourth of the cup was full. The rest had drained in the chamber below. (By the way, the collection area is larger than it use to be. In my old one this would have run over on to the counters. How do I know that? A friend told me.) What a waste of a perfectly good cup of coffee.

Likewise, each and every day God is pouring out his blessings and the problem for many of us is, our mugs aren’t in place. We’ve become too distracted by the worries and cares of the world and we miss the blessings of a loving Heavenly Father. I believe without a shadow of a doubt that one day I’ll stand before God and he will say: “Why didn’t you let me bless you more.” Then I fear he will walk me into a room filled with unclaimed blessings on my life. How does this happen in a life? Pretty simple, we take our eyes off of that which should be central and we miss the blessings.

How about you today? Is your mug in place to receive the flow of God’s blessings on your life? God loves you and wants to pour out his blessings upon you today. However, you have to be in a position to receive them. Godspeed my friends.

 

May 1

There are times, for all of us, when life seems to pile up on. No matter what we do, we can’t seem to catch a break. When things start heading south, it’s hard to turn it around. It’s like a snowball going down hill, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. The reality is, no one is immune from this problem.

Life piles up on us financially. Most of us know what it’s like to have more month than money. Everything hits at once. April is certainly a pile on month for me. Of course you have your taxes due as well as your estimated taxes all in the same month. But for others out there, your home air conditioning and car tires both need to be replaced at the same time. That’s not even mentioning the bill that’s due to the orthodontist and by the way, season football tickets need to be paid. It’s enough to put anyone in the tank.

Life piles on us physically. If you live long enough, you’ll find that your body starts breaking down. Just with regular visits to the doctor, optometrist, and dentist, it’s hard to keep up. Not even taking in to count your sleep study, orthopedic visit, and dermatologist appointment. You know you’re getting old when your social calendar revolves around your doctor’s appointments.

Life piles up on us spiritually as well. We seem to get hit from every direction. We try to do the right thing, but instead of getting easier, life gets harder. We have a prodigal child, a death in the family, or a broken relationship. We feel cold and alone and we cry out to God: “Where are you? If you’re not going to work with me, then don’t work against me!”

When life piles on, stop for a moment and just breathe. Remember the promise of your God: “I will never leave or forsake you.” What you’ll find when life piles on, there’s a protective layer between you and life. That my friends is the presence of God. He’s with you, even in the pile. Godspeed.

© 2018 Pleasant Hill Baptist Church
Connected Sound - Websites for the Barbershop Community