Devotional Thoughts


First Steps into 2017:

Pray more.

Read the Bible more

Serve more

Give more

Smile more

Play More

Read More

Listen More

Hug More

Be real more

Be available more

Help more

Share the Gospel more

Obey God more

Chose God more

Encourage more

Love more

Make excuses less

Gossip less

Hinder less

Quarrel less

Slander less

Provoke less

Envy less

Be less jealous

Be less conceited

Be more patient

Be more kind

Be more gentle

Exert more self-control

Exert more effort for God

Represent God better

Smile and Help

If you want 2017 to be any different than 2016 then you must actually CHANGE some thing. Doing the same stuff the same way will yield the same results

Pick one of these you can do and do it, then pick another.

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Jesus knew the Temple Elite were out to get Him, but he went to Jerusalem anyway.

Jesus knew the politicians were out to get Him, but He went to Jerusalem anyway.

Jesus knew the military and Temple guards would follow their orders to capture and harm Him with great enthusiasm, but He went to Jerusalem anyway.

Jesus knew the same people who were shouting praises to Him on Sunday would be crying out for His Crucifixion in just a few days, but He went to Jerusalem anyway.

Jesus knew that even many of the ones who traveled with Him would run away from Him, but He went to Jerusalem anyway.

Jesus knew that even some of His closest disciples would abandon Him, but He went to Jerusalem anyway.

Jesus knew He would be lied about, tried and convicted in direct contradiction to all the evidence, but He went to Jerusalem anyway.

Jesus knew He would be condemned and sent to die even though He was declared innocent; but He went to Jerusalem anyway.

Jesus knew He would gasp his last physical breath hanging from a roman cross as His blood flowed onto the ground below, but He went to Jerusalem anyway.

Why would He do such things with full knowledge?

Love.

John 3:16 – 17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” ESV

Jesus did all of this because He loves you and want the very best for you; now and forever.

Knowing all Jesus knowingly suffered for you, how could we do anything else but love Him back and share His love with others?

Acts 1:8  “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Would go to Jerusalem?

 

Took a little time today to read and ponder the arrest, trials, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Two things really hit me as I read.

  1. John 19:14-16 “Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”  They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.”   ESV
    1. I physically shuddered as I read this.
      1. The CHIEF PRIESTS denied Jesus Christ
      2. The Temple Elite were lost in their own world of flesh and religiosity.
        1. In Ezekiel 10 we read of the Glory of God leaving the Temple because of their rebellion, cruelty and disobedient
        2. All traits we are seeing here
        3. Traits we see in our world today
  • A church position does not make anyone a Christian
    1. Like sleeping in a garage will not make you a F-250 or make you a mechanic.
    2. There are “wolves in Sheep’s Clothing” in churches of all denominations across the globe
      1. Twisting the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the desires of the flesh.
      2. Preaching to tickle ears, draw crowds and become powerful
        1. All the while rejecting the very message of the Word of God
      3. There are a HERD of people out there wearing the “label” of Christianity who are no more Christian than a broken superman toy is bulletproof.
        1. They are either fakers or deceived.
      4. Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”   ESV
        1. I worry about people who are following the teachings of a man and not the Word of God
          1. How many will stand before Christ and hear “Depart from Me, I don’t know you” because they were tricked by a false teacher who made them feel good.
          2. Will you be one of these many?
        2. I found it particularly disturbing today that people in pulpits are leading people AWAY from Jesus.
      5. The reality that both soldiers and an officer of the High Priest struck Jesus with their hand.
        1. Look at your hand.
          1. Your hand is special and unique.
          2. Your hand was formed by God specifically and individually for you.
        2. They used the very hands God had given them to strike the One who made them
          1. Violent
          2. Disrespectful
        3. I am not sure how to properly explain how repugnant I believe it is to lay our hands on our Savior in such a manner.
      6. Oh how we have failed our Creator and Savior.
        1. We must come to Him with repentant hearts and seek His love and restoration.
        2. We must understand how much we truly need Jesus Christ and receive the Grace of God through Him, and Him alone.
      7. Please take some time this week and read the Gospel accounts of this week, Passion Week, and see just how much Jesus loves YOU and how far He was willing to go for YOUR salvation and eternal life.

Jesus wants a clean church

This morning I was reading a small bit of scripture in Matthew 21:12 – 13 where Jesus went into the Temple just after His “triumphant Entry” into Jerusalem on a donkey.

Two scriptures. 50 – 60 words or so, depending on the Bible translation you are reading.  But some very powerful words and scriptures they are.

We know the story, Jesus goes into the Temple and started overturning tables and running people out of the premises.

This text really spoke to me in two distinct areas.

  1. Jesus went against most of the popular “seeker sensitive” and church growth models we see in today’s world.
    1. Churches with book stores and national brand coffee houses.
    2. Churches more focused on making the “Crowd” comfortable than making a place where the Gospel is welcome
      1. So many times we are willing to compromise or change so we can “capture” a new demographic audience.
    3. Along the way we forget a few things:
      1. People need the Lord; not entertained
      2. We need conviction, to understand our need for God; not confections.
  • The Word of God must be primary
  1. Jesus went through the church and cleaned house
    1. Driving out the greedy money changers
    2. Driving out the cheating dove (sacrifice) sellers
  • Overturning chairs and tables
    1. Not what we today would call an “effective church growth strategy”
    2. Today we would have called the police and had this crazy man hauled away.
      1. Wow, in Texas He might of gotten shot!
    3. The church was not focused on what is PRIMARY
      1. It was focused on greed, pride and flesh
      2. Jesus was on a mission to cleanse the church
    4. Jesus went to great lengths to cleanse His Temple.
      1. Here this in our context today
        1. First: Are His churches (Christian churches) clean and properly focused on God and His Word today?
          1. Even today it is more important for a church to be Biblically focused and doctrinally correct that have a big budget or a massive auditorium.
        2. Second: (and this cannot be emphasized enough in our world today) THE CHURCH IS NOT THE BRICK AND MORTAR EDIFICE PEOPLE GATHER IN! THE PEOPLE ARE THE CHURCH!!!
          1. The church gathers together in a place to worship God
          2. Technically a Christian CANNOT “go to church” because they are one of the many parts of the church
          3. Denominations define and divide us into groups by a worldly standard, but every Christian, regardless of denomination, are part of the Lord’s Church.
          4. How God centered is your church?
            1. Look in the mirror.
            2. Better yet, open the Word of God and see if the reflection you see there is a reflection of self or a reflection of God.
          5. Jesus went in and brought great conviction and cleansing to the temple
            1. Have you allowed Him to do the same for you?
            2. Jesus paid a very high price for the redemption of His Church; for YOUR redemption
            3. Jesus is able to cleanse everything not of God out of His temple; to cleanse you!
              1. New life
              2. New hope
  • New faith
  1. A New you!
  1. To “borrow” a phrase from most parents on a long car trip:
    1. “Don’t make Him come down here”
    2. Choose for yourself TODAY that Jesus is Lord and accept every good thing He has for you.
  2. Jesus cleansed His Temple and gave it a central purpose.
    1. A purpose from which every other plan and purpose of His Church grows out into this world.
    2. A PRIMARY focus that remains unchanged today.
    3. This primary focus gives us direction, wisdom, strength, conviction, correction and a deepening relationship with God.
    4. “My House will be called a house of prayer!” – Jesus
      1. Today, prayer meetings are the least attended meeting of the church
      2. Today, the daily prayer habits of the average Christian is almost zero.
  • Today, prayer has taken a back seat to programs, promotions and platitudes.
    1. You Christian, ARE THE CHURCH! You are God’s House.
      1. Are YOU a house of prayer?

Basic work preparing to share with the RGC Rattler Football Team.

David and Goliath       10-20-2015

  • I played for a State Championship Team. A team that lost only 1 game in two years.
    • I know that even State Championship teams face the same issues as you do every game.
    • Everyone is gunning for you – to knock you off your high horse
      • Yes, I played for the Mighty Poca Dots
      • pocadots
    • You know that you are high school students just like the opposing teams

David and Goliath

  • Goliath was the champion of the Philistine army
    • He was the baddest of the baddest fighter they had
    • Goliath was THERE TO FIGHT
      • He was a warrior
      • He was huge
      • He was well armed
      • He was well trained – PREPARED
      • He was expected to win
        • By his army
        • Unfortunately, by the Army of Israel
          • No one wanted to go face him
          • They were ready to give up without a fight
        • David was a shepherd boy
          • He was there to deliver food
          • He was small
          • He was young
          • He had no expectation of fighting when he arrived.

BUT

  • David was motivated by the low expectations of the Army of Israel
  • David had FAITH
    • He believed in God
      • Audience of ONE
      • His protection and Deliverer
    • Through FAITH David believed in himself
  • David had a STRONG FOUNDATION
    • GROWING EXPERIENCE
      • He had fought lions
      • He had fought bears
        • And HE HAD WON
      • David had FOCUS
        • He abandoned any tool, equipment, idea that may have distracted him
          • The King tried to distract him with bad ideas
            • Wear my armor
            • Fight for a human reward
          • The crowd doubted his abilities
          • The giant taunted him
        • He focused on the FIGHT at hand
        • One rock – One shot
        • David focused on a singular task
      • David moved FORWARD with BOLDNESS
        • He ran TOWARD the Giant
        • He used every talent and tool God had given him
        • He found GREAT VICTORY

Goliath and the Philistine Army had EVERY VALID EXPECTATION OF VICTORY

BUT

Goliath had NEVER faced off with a GIANT KILLER before.

Goliath had never faced DAVID

Edinburg Vela has NEVER faced this team Mighty Rattlers before either!

Are the RIO GRANDE CITY RATTLERS ready to see a GIANT FALL?

Are you READY TO BE GIANT KILLERS?

Take to the FIELD OF HONOR Thursday with

FAITH

FOUNDATION

FOCUS

Always moving FORWARD

RGC Community Prayer Breakfast  – June 9, 2015

Colossians 3:12-17 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”   ESV

  • Good VERY EARLY Morning!
  • I am sure glad that y’all are here this morning!
    • I am EXTREMELY glad that y’all CHOSE to get dressed before you came here!
    • Each one of you woke up and PUT ON CLOTHING!
    • No one showed up Nekked
    • Thank You
  • How many of you put any real thought into the clothing you PUT ON?
    • I usually do not
    • Grab and Go
    • Style is not my strong suit
    • Matching clothing is not my strong suit
      • I was raised on a WV farm in jeans
      • CLEAN is good enough
  • Be thankful for what you have to wear
    • Be thankful you are wearing something!
  • How many of us really give much thought to how we are SPIRITUALLY DRESSED for the day?
    • What we wear SPIRITUALLY is of more importance than what we wear physically.
      • A Kind heart is more valuable than an expensive suit
  • Here is a quick list of what God encourages us to PUT ON daily:
    • Compassion
    • Kindness
    • Humility
    • Meekness
    • Patience
    • Forgiveness
    • ABOVE ALL: LOVE
      • Love is what BINDS US TOGETHER
      • Love is like our SUSPENDERS
        • Ties the bottom to the top
    • Peace of Christ
    • Thankfulness
    • God’s Word dwelling inside
    • Worship and Wisdom pouring out
  • Once we are PROPERLY SPIRITUALLY DRESSED
    • We are ready to face the world
    • Not in our strength
    • In God’s Strength
  • Once you are properly dressed in the Righteous Clothing of God
    • ACT LIKE HIS SERVANT
    • Whatever you do
    • In Word or Deed
      • Do EVERYTHING in the name of the Lord Jesus
    • Giving thanks to God the Father though Him.
  • It is very easy to point out the flaws in our political candidates on the national, state, county or municipal levels
    • But we need to remember that THEY COME FROM US
    • We are identifying our flaws.

ipsc-cbThe Shooter’s Sin

Open confession:  The last time I was at the shooting range this Southern Baptist Pastor SINNED…..and sinned a bunch!

At the last USPSA match I was at EVERYBODY SINNED – over and over again!

Most of us don’t like to think about sin; and we certainly DO NOT want to apply it to competitive shooting.    But, we must.

You see the Biblical word “sin” is actually a shooting term. Yep, that’s right, a shooting term.

The simple definition for sin is, “Missing the Mark”   It means our projectile did not hit where it was supposed to hit.

In the old days it may have referred to a spear, knife or arrow.  Today, it could also mean any non-alpha hit on our IPSC target.

So when you were at the most recent USPSA shoot or just at the range you sinned.  I sinned a bunch!

During a shoot we applaud the Alphas, accept the Bravo or Charleys, moan the Deltas and deny the Mikes. (Surely the RO can see that two rounds went through that Alpha hole!”)

When we slow down and concentrate more we usually get more Alphas and sin less often.  Transversely, when we try to go fast we sin more and get fewer Alphas.

Sin is a shooting term.  Next time you hear this preacher talking about sin on the range, just know it is my off target hits.  I am missing the mark and need to make corrections in my aim, my grip or my attitude.

This shooting term is applied to our of range life in the Bible.  Yes, we sin off range when we miss God’s mark.

God expects Alphas.  Every time.

Anything else except Alphas is sin.  You may get some credit for Charleys, Bravos or Deltas in USPSA, but not so much in the Kingdom.

We are all sinners.

God only has 2 categories:  Hit or miss.  Alpha or Mike….and His target is not as large as IPSC’s.

We tend to think like a competition: we applaud our alphas, think our “Charley sins” are ok (not to bad), we moan about our Delta sins (I need to work on those) and deny having any “Mike sins” (it’s not like I have killed anyone or something really bad)

God does not see them that way, and He has said that there can be no sinners allowed into His house.

The good news is that God is a GREAT RO!

God sent His one and only Son to take the bad scores/the punishment for our sins.  We are called to believe He can forgive our misses and score us with His son’s perfect score.

When we believe, God scores with mercy.  God does not give us the score we deserve.

When we believe, God scores with grace.  God gives us His Son Jesus’ perfect score.

When we believe there are no DQ’s, Mikes are forgiven and there are no Accidental Discharges.

It is better when God is on your side!  If He is for you, no one can beat you! Every Christian is a Grand Master.

The reality is, like on the range, if I will slow down and think about what I am doing I will sin less.  The more focus I put on God and His Word the more Alphas are in my life.

I have learned to accept the times I sin on the range, but pray I never get comfortable with my off range sins before God. I must make the proper corrections to hit the mark God has set for me.  You?

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