Saturday, November 30, 2013


Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” (Habakkuk 3:18 KJV link to Scripture

“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”  (Philippians 4:4 KJV link to Scripture

To those who do not have a growing and abiding relationship with Jesus, seeing joyful Christians is confusing.  It is difficult for people to understand joy in the midst of the most difficult times of life.  Amazingly, those enduring persecution because of their faith in Jesus are joyful.  It’s clear that persecution causes growth of the Christian faith, rather than death.   

Being rightly related to Jesus gives us the strength to keep on keeping on, when we’d rather curl up and hide.  It keeps our attitude positive and our hearts soft.  Paul had this type of presence in his letter to the Philippians, which he wrote from prison. 

There are many examples in the persecuted church of individuals finding strength and joy in the Lord no matter what the circumstances.  Likewise, there are scores of examples throughout history of men, women, boys, and girls who have rejoiced in the most ominous of circumstances. 

It’s because of my relationship with the Lord that I was able to assist with Confirmation class the evening of my mom’s Celebration of Life service.  My relationship with the Lord, in addition, to the caring presence of many brothers and sisters in the Lord gave me the strength to walk through many difficult days and long nights of my mom’s illness.  It’s also what helped me to keep moving and to get all the things done that need to be done following her home-going. 

Moreover, I continue to live my daily life in that relationship.  There are times—more than I’d like to admit that I fail miserably, yet each day I discover the Lord’s mercies are new.  Great is His faithfulness (link to text)!

Like Paul, we can find reason to rejoice even in the most traumatic circumstances.  If we can keep our eyes focused on Jesus we won’t get off course attitudinally, and if we do, we’ll realize it and make the necessary corrections.         

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for the gift of Yourself that brought us back into a right relationship with our Heavenly Father.  Empower us to rejoice in all things because of You—both in the good and in the bad.  Grant us the courage and strength to be joyful even in the most difficult of times.  In Your precious name, we pray, Amen.

From my heart to yours,


Enjoy this link to the worship/praise chorus Rejoice in the Lord Always click here for worship video

Friday, November 22, 2013

Growing with the Flow

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  To him be glory both now and for ever.  Amen.” (2Peter 3:18)see here

During the spring and summer of 2006, I worked my way through a book, The Ministry Inquiry Process (one of many components of the candidacy process in the United Methodist Church for those interested in exploring their call to professional ministry). 

One session had a question about handling the (joys and) surprises of ministry.  “Growing with the flow” was one of my responses—it was an error—originally I meant “go with the flow”.  However, my mentor liked my response.    

What does “growing with the flow,” mean?  Isn’t that the whole point of being a Christian?  Many times, it’s the most difficult and/or the most heart-breaking of incidents that produce the most growth.  “Growing with the flow,” is so empowering—keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus—will allow us to handle all that comes our way, both positive and negative, in what we’ve been called to do.  This isn’t always easy, in fact, it can be quite difficult; however, the results are worth it. 

In what area(s) of your life do you need to learn to “grow with the flow”? 
Please join me in prayer:

God of grace, help us to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus.  It is only through keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus that we’ll be able to “grow with the flow.”  Remind us, Lord, of the growth we can experience in and through You.  In Jesus’ precious, Name.  Amen.

From my heart to yours,


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Christian Persecution

This coming Sunday, November 10, 2013, is International Day for the Persecuted Church.  Will you remember in prayer those who worship the Lord in the face of great loss, great persecution?  For more information on this day and general information on the persecuted church see:;;

“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory…”  (1 Peter 1:8 KJV)

Peter’s words must have brought some comfort and encouragement to the early Gentile Christians.  These Christians were facing extreme persecution under the Roman government led by Emperor Nero.  This persecution hasn’t ended, it continues on today.

The following passages from Hebrews should be encouraging to every Christian, but especially encouraging to those enduring unimaginable hardship due to the name of Jesus.  

13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out , they might have had opportunity to have returned . 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.  (Hebrews 11: 13-16 KJV)

1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.  (Hebrews 12:1-4 KJV)

Currently throughout the world there are many countries where to be a Christian is a death sentence or a guarantee to lose home, employment, family, and so much more.  In the face of all this—men, women, and children demonstrate great faith in their Savior—Jesus Christ.    

At this point, in America we have it fairly easy—we can worship freely and without fear.  How has that affected our faith?  Do we have the faith that would sustain us, even if that freedom was taken away?  Some day, we may find ourselves in a very similar situation to our brothers and sisters in Christ in places like North Korea and China to name two.

I believe we can learn much from our Christian brothers and sisters in the persecuted church.  They know what it means to rejoice in the face of things that are not joyful.  Learn about them and from them.  Remember to pray for those who are suffering all because they refuse to turn from Jesus.    

What about us…  What would Peter say to us, to encourage us in our Christian walk?  Do we love and believe in Jesus?  Do we rejoice with joy unspeakable?  May we be found faithful!   

Dear Father, we love You and believe in You, even though we don’t see You.  Open our eyes and hearts to Your presence among us.  It is because of You that we can rejoice—rejoice in all things and glory in Your name.  We lift up to You our brothers and sisters in Christ, who can’t worship freely but worship knowing that it may cost them their lives; grant them Your peace and love and protection.  Lord, prepare us who currently worship in safety and freedom to one day lose that freedom—strengthen us to stand strong in our faith, counting the cost worth it.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.