Live in the Present

5F962604-2EC1-4410-BBA2-3D923BB4DC71“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Our church message today is that God is always with us each moment and we must live in the present.  The many distractions of this world tend to misdirect our focus on things that do not bring us closer to God.  Indeed we should be still, away from the “noise” and feel God’s presence.  Only then can we live to our true identity.  As the new week begins, I will strive to stay in the moment and live in this awareness and stop worrying about what lies ahead.  God is with us always and will be there forever and all we have to do is have Faith.

Daughters

3A889075-CBA5-45E3-BF20-2C585B790708“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:30‬ ‭ESV‬‬

God has blessed me with two beautiful daughters. They have always been stars in my life, brightening my days. Each of them has different gifts and talents, but both put God first in their lives. Though everyone makes some deviations off the path of righteousness, they inspire me with their focus on doing right at all times. (And let me know when they think I am off course) Yes, they are physically beautiful too, but more importantly, they have beautiful hearts and souls. They deserve my praise and I thank God for them every day.

Surveillance

C7D50894-6A0D-47BE-9297-6C19D2EE3039“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭32:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Surveillance
The average American is caught on camera about 70 times a day! The numbers of hidden cameras have grown astronomically due to the low cost and availability. One must assume that everything in public has a high chance of being recorded. Properly used these cameras have tended to deter crime. Obviously certain behaviors are changed when the threat of being captured on camera is real, but many people for whatever reason continue to break the law. Many of these criminals are true sociopaths who disregard societal rules. The Bible tells us that God is ALWAYS watching us and yet we all break some of His commandments. For people who believe in God, that makes no sense—knowing He is watching should deter us from sinning. I guess we all have lapses in our faith or denial when certain temptations arise.

Go With All Your Heart

0C7C1FD0-A3B9-4CDE-A60B-49D502F988A1“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭22:37-39 ESV

Go With All Your Heart

Yesterday’s events aligned in such a way that this post is truly fresh. In Sunday school yesterday, we discussed how we should be in constant prayer with God, always doing our best and praising Him, no matter the circumstances. Shortly after Church, my sweet mother-in-law mentioned how she always enjoys what she is doing at the moment; and, she is always doing something for others. And our exchange student from Spain related her joy from being at a party with mostly strangers, relishing every experience in a foreign country. Finally, my wife spent over four hours on the phone with an airline agent, getting our tickets in order. All of these things reminded me of the greatest two commandments, which combine to say, “Go with all your heart”.

Forgive

2376C3FE-C3CB-4298-83A0-CD1B352CCE94

“Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive
him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.””
‭‭Luke‬ ‭17:3-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Forgive

Recently a retired minister told me how his family still blames him for the death of one of their relatives. All he had done was wired money to her at her request. His action came from his love for her. But her boyfriend who was drug addicted murdered her for that money. Clearly the minister had not done anything wrong, but years later he struggles with guilt, which has been reinforced, if not caused, by his family members blaming him. Now I feel certain that he has counseled people during his pastoral career about such undeserved guilt, but he has suffered for many years. Hopefully my discussion with him eased his conscience and reminded him that God forgives us when we repent and turn from our sin. In his case, he didn’t need forgiveness, except from himself.

 

December

5ACC3B75-2D82-442C-918E-9E90ED587991“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

December

December is always an exciting month. It brings winter and Christmas, as well as a break from school and work for some. This year it is the last month before the start of the twenties. I am so hopeful that this new decade will bring positive changes in our world. Obviously we cannot predict the future, but we can trust that God will keep His Promises.

Alive

F463943D-F343-4BC1-9EDB-1DD7D7747FA2“So he is the God of the living, not the dead, for they are all alive to him.””
‭‭Luke‬ ‭20:38‬ ‭NLT‬‬
Alive

I just learned that a young patient of mine died after a long battle with cancer. She had such Faith with a spirit that shined bright and beautiful. As an oncologist, I often see courage that seems beyond reason and wonder how these individuals can bear so much suffering. It is easy to say how we should face such illness, but difficult to endure when the pain intensifies beyond our imagination. Indeed this woman’s relationship with The God of The Living allowed her to pass with Peace that cannot be humanly understood.