Our Morning Star

 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 2 Peter 1:19

Howard Beach August 2015

Having the Bible sitting on our shelf, or even dutifully reading it as a mere religious exercise is not what Peter had in mind when he said “Pay attention like you would to a light in a darkened room.” In that dark place there is no other source of light. The only things that we can see are what that light shines on.

Rick Warren once said, “God loves you and everyone else has a wonderful plan for your life!” We live in a world filled with hyped up advertising claims, political promises of utopia and even pulpit promotions that don’t truly match up with God’s word.Peter’s advice is to zero in on what God is saying, as though no one else was speaking. He tells us that it is our own choice, who to listen to. If your world seems so filled with the busy noises of life that you feel lost and confused, then this morning might be a good time to turn off everything else and focus on the word of God. God’s word has the power to amaze us when it shines on everything around us like the dawning of a new day in our hearts.

The Widow’s Cause

  learn to do good;
seek justice,
    correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
    plead the widow’s cause. Isaiah 1:17

Learn, seek, correct, bring, plead: These are all action verbs and they are actions God is expecting us to take. We live in a nation addicted to communication. According to 2014 statistics there are 327,577,529 cell phones in the United States. Yet in this same nation we are abandoning the widows (and widowers) at an alarming pace. As a volunteer chaplain in a nursing home I am often asked to pray that some family member will come or even call. Though there are many families working hard to keep in touch with their loved ones once they have been placed in long-term nursing care, the studies show that 60% never receive a single visit over the space of an entire year.

From the times of Isaiah till today the ease at which we forget what truly matters to God’sKIMG1069 heart remains unchanged. His nation was busy going about its religious festivals, continuing to go to the places of worship and giving great shows of their devotion to God. But God’s response to their outward show was that He was not interested in showing up for their meetings or even listening to their prayers, because they were so focused on themselves that they had forgotten to hear the cries of the abandoned, the groans of the suffering and the loneliness of the widows.

Think of your own small town or city and ask yourself, “what can I do to obey the heart of God right here?”

For more resources in learning what you could do look for our guide on Amazon, titled, “Would You Do it For One?

http://www.amazon.com/Would-You-Do-One-Inspirational-ebook/dp/B00U9STGQM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1440852584&sr=8-2&keywords=Would+You+do+it+for+one

What Do You Think?

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Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8

I am a daydreamer a bit like the Walter Mitty of the recent movie with Ben Stiller. I often imagine the worst when I am nervous or dream of greatness when I achieve some small success. My ideas seem to run in every direction like scurrying chickens in a barnyard. But when I turn to God’s word I find that I am called on to actively direct my wayward thoughts. God didn’t create us to be slaves to our thoughts but He designed our mind to be the servant of our spirit. Rather than simply drifting like a gull that follows every draft of wind God expects me to grab hold of the reigns of my creative thoughts and use them for good. His assurance today is that no matter the circumstance, no matter the difficulty we face, no matter the complications that lie ahead, there is also an ocean of good around us. God tells us to live our life for His praise.

Not the meanspirited way but the noble

Not the deceptive strategy but the just one

Not the tainted desires but the pure

Not the ugliness of life but the lovely

Not the juicy gossip but the good report

Not the biting critical remark but the gracious praise of others

Today – which is the only day we are promised can be a day for God’s praise if we choose to think like Him!

The Things Left Behind

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do,forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead Philippians 3:13

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Often when we think of this scripture the image that comes to our minds is of leaving behind the hurts, bitterness and disappointments of our past and pressing on to a bright future. But what Paul was leaving behind was not difficulty and disappointment, but rather comfort, respect and success. While what lay ahead of him were, struggles, persecution and death. Yet Paul faced these challenges of his life with courage, hope and compassion for those under his care. He did not sulk in the corner or slink away from the race in shame. Instead of giving up, Paul focused on the finish line.

I hold in my memory banks a scene from long ago when I ran on our high school track team. Though I was not a good runner I determined that I would always cross the finish line. Often I was dead last!  My position in the race and seeming lack of progress were outweighed for me by a single factor: there at the finish line stood my coach, waiting for me and cheering me on. I would pick my head up and look down the track and remember how coach always told us, “Run through the tape not to it!”

So if today your race seems hopeless, and to all outward appearances you are not achieving life’s most important goals, take your eyes off your feet as you run and look ahead.  There at the end of your race, Jesus is watching and cheering you on! Run your race for a goal that lies in heaven, with eternal our coach,Jesus Christ of Nazareth! , He was the one who fired off the starting pistol both at gate and is standing, holding the tape at the finish line!

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav’n and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

His Eye is On the Sparrow by Civilla Martin