The Clock is Ticking


Jesus in the clouds

“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” Matthew 24:42

Imagine with me for a moment: You wake up one morning and crawl out of bed. You sleepily go into the kitchen, turn the coffee pot on, and begin to do things just as you normally do every day. You turn the television on to see what the news is reporting for that day. As the television comes on, before the picture even gets clear, you hear the panic in the reporters voice as she tries to calmly explain what is taking place. It seems that overnight something unexplainable has happened. Millions of people have just vanished. Parents can not find their children. Nurses are missing their patients. The hospital nursery has been robbed of every single newborn. Chaos is building.

You begin to panic. Not because of all the horrible things being reported on the news. No, this panic is coming from somewhere deep in your heart. Why? Because you are suddenly faced with the reality that it has actually happened. You begin to think back on all those years you listened to your grandma talk about getting your life right, about all the church services you sat through, halfheartedly listening to the preacher speak about a day coming soon when your life as you know it would end.  Oh, it all seemed like a bunch of make-believe back then. Why, just yesterday your mama called to say that she was praying for you and that she hoped you would join her for church on Sunday. As these memories play through your mind like a movie in slow motion, you feel tears begin to roll down your face. You feel the panic rising in your chest, and at that moment you have no choice but to admit it: Jesus has returned and you have been left behind.

Friend, I realize that the picture I have just painted for you is a made up story. Please understand, however, that even though the story is made up, the subject we are talking about is very real. It is coming sooner than you think, and if you are not prepared it will catch you off guard. We are told in the Bible that no one knows when God will send His son, Jesus, to come get His children. We are told that Jesus will come as a thief in the night. This does not necessarily mean that Jesus will return at night. It means that He will return quietly, quickly, without warning.

You will not have time to prepare. You will not have time to get it together then. No, when Jesus does come back to take God’s children home, it will be too late to change your mind. Your decision will have been made. You will then be left to suffer through the most horrific days this world has ever seen.

Normally I would take this time to encourage you. This morning I want to take a moment to plead with you. If you have never accepted Jesus into your heart, if you have never turned your life over to God, if you have never allowed Jesus to come in and change you, Please do not wait. I truly believe that Jesus could return any day. Do not wait until it is too late. Please do not be the one about whom I was telling the story.

God has made it very simple for you. He has laid out the plan. He has paid the price. All you have to do is accept the free gift that Jesus has offered you. All you have to do is admit that you have sinned and commit to a life that will be spent doing your best to honor God and keep His commandments. Three words stand between you and complete forgiveness of your sins. Those three words are, Father forgive me. It really is that simple.

Now, I want to encourage you. If you have not been saved, if you have not allowed Jesus to come in and wash your sins away, please do it right now. If in reading this you have come to the realization that you need this forgiveness and you have prayed a prayer of repentance let me be the first one to welcome you into God’s family. If you have been a Christian for many years, let me just encourage you to keep fighting the good fight.

I firmly believe with all of my heart that we are living in the last days. I believe that any day now Jesus could split the eastern sky and call all of His children to Heaven to be with Him. I am looking forward to that day, and I want you to be there with me.

You have a choice to make. Believe me when I say, “Your life depends on it.” Will you take some time to consider what you have just read this morning? If you have questions, feel free to leave me a comment here, or you can even visit me on Facebook. My email address is listed in the “About Me” section if you would like to send me an email.

Let me end by reminding you of this: Jesus loves you so much that He was willing to die on a cross for your sins. He loves you so much that He not only died on a cross for your sins, He has even gone to Heaven to prepare a place just for you.

How could you turn your back on the one who loves you enough to die for you? How could you turn down such a wonderful gift as this? Will you accept His gift today?

Motivational Monday: Getting Our Priorities Straight


priorities-lily_s

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

I do not know about you, but weekends around our house can be crazy. Normally it is an enjoyable kind of crazy, yet still very hectic.

For our family Friday means buying groceries, paying bills, and trying to catch up on whatever housework got pushed to the back burner throughout the work week. It is a day that we try to catch up from the busy week and get ready to enjoy the weekend.

  This past Friday was parent teacher conference at our school which meant a day off for us. That should have made for a pretty easy day, right? Wrong! It was nonstop craziness from the instant my feet hit the floor. Truth be told the whole weekend was that way. Each day held something different for us to do.

By the time we got home from church yesterday afternoon, my house looked like a tornado had come through. Things that are normally taken care of on a daily basis had been pushed to the side to make room for a variety of different activities.

As I surveyed the damage and thought about all the things that needed to be accomplished before the time came to leave for our evening service, I began to feel a little overwhelmed. Okay, I am sure if you could ask my husband he would give you a different description. I was running around like a mad woman. In my frustration I made the decision that I did not have time to accomplish everything I had on my to-do list AND go to church, so I said to my husband, “We are not going to church tonight. I have too much to do and I will never get it all done in time.”

I passed out chores to each of our children, and I myself settled in to make sense of what was once my kitchen. As I was washing dishes and putting clean ones away I felt God speak to my heart about the decision I had made to stay home rather than go to church. I realized in that moment that church was not the problem. I realized that my own lack of self-discipline and time management had brought me to this point of mounds of laundry and dirty dishes.

At that realization, I told my husband that I was wrong and that it was not right for me to put off going to church just because I felt I had other things that needed to be done. I made the commitment right then to do as much as I could in the few hours I had and then to go to church and worry about the rest of it later.

I wish I could describe to you the peace that came over my heart at that moment. It was as if God had laid His hand on my shoulder and said, “I have got this.” The rest of the afternoon went smoothly. It felt almost as if God slowed time down. I can not sit here this morning and tell you that everything got accomplished and that my house was spotless before I left, but I can tell you that I had a peace in my heart that I had not felt at the beginning of this ordeal.

So many times we take this same attitude in life. For some reason we want to make God and church the problem. We make up so many excuses: Church is too much trouble. I have too much to do. Saturday is busy, so I need Sunday to rest. Sunday mornings are crazy and I do not have time to get up, get the kids ready and be to church on time. Wednesday is busy, I can not get home from work in time to go to church. By the time I get home from work, I am too tired to go anywhere.

So many times we have no trouble making up excuse after excuse as to why we can not go to church, or why we can not spend time with God. I will be the first to admit that I do the same thing. So many times I find myself making up some excuse why I did not have my quiet time with God, or why I can not go to church this day or that.

We must realize that this is how the devil gets his foot in the door of our heart. If he can magnify our problems, or the things we have to do, then often times we will make the decision to put those things before God. The devil wants us to get our priorities out of order. He wants us to focus more on the things that are around us than the cross that is before us. We have to learn to recognize the tricks that the devil plays and know how to resist them.

I understand how busy life gets. I understand that sometimes work does keep us from being at church. I am not telling you to quit your job if it keeps you from being at church every time. I am simply asking that we look at our list of priorities. I believe that we need to be in church as often as we can. This is the place that we come to worship and refill. God created the church to be a place where we can get together with other believers and share our struggles and learn from God’s word.

I want to encourage you today. The next time the devil tries to get you to believe that you are too busy for God or church, take a moment and look at your priorities. What is really important? Can that load of clothes wait until you get home from church? Will it hurt for the dishes to sit for one more hour? Can you choose something different to cook for supper that may not take as long? Could you work your schedule around so that you can be home in time for church? Can the trash wait until tomorrow to be taken off? These are just a few ideas that I have found to get around the excuses that I come up with in my mind.

Simply put: Life is all about the choices we make. Life is about our priorities. We make time for the things that are most important to us. What does your priority list look like? I pray today, if in looking at your list of priorities you find they are a little, or a lot, out-of-order, that you will allow God to work on that. Ask God to help you get your priorities in order. Ask Him to show you the things you need to change in order to get it right.

God is never too busy for us, may we never reach a point where we are too busy for Him.

A Challenge For You and Me


Sun rise

“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
    I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
 I will be glad and rejoice in you;
   I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.”

Psalm 9: 1-2 (NIV)

How often do we stop to thank God for all that He has done for us? How many times do we pass up an opportunity to tell others about the things that God is doing in our lives? Do we make it a point to be glad in the Lord? Do we make it a point to sing the praises of God and His goodness?

These Scriptures that I have chosen for today point out four specific things that I believe, as Christians, we should be doing. As I read this passage this morning I realized that in my own life I do not do these things as often as I should. I would like to take each one and talk about it and then I have a challenge that I would like to share with you.

The first part of this passage reads, “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart.”How often do we stop to thank God for all that he has done in our lives? I am afraid that if we are honest with ourselves we will find that we do not thank God nearly as much as we should. Take a moment and think about all the things we have to be thankful for in just one day. God has blessed us beyond measure and we need to remember to thank Him for those blessings every single day.

The next thing that David says is, “I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” When was the last time you stopped and told someone about all the wonderful things that God has been doing in your life? I know in my own life, I am much more apt to tell someone about the problems I am facing rather than all the things I have been blessed with. I believe that as Christians we should make it a point to focus on all the wonderful deeds that God has done and is still doing in our lives rather than to focus on the trials we are facing. Yes, we all face troubles and trials, but I believe the more we focus on our blessings the smaller our trials and troubles will seem.

The third line in this passage tells us, “ I will be glad and rejoice in you.”Are you glad today? As Christians we should be the happiest people around. No matter what difficulties come our way we can be glad and rejoice in spite of those difficulties because God is taking care of us. We are told in John 16:33 that we will have trouble in the world, but that we can also have peace because Jesus has overcome the world. That should give us a reason to be glad and to rejoice. Let us always do our best to be glad in spite of our circumstances and to rejoice in the Lord no matter how what difficulty we are facing.

Finally, we read in the last part of this passage: “I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.”  Now, I am sure some of you are thinking, “You do not want to hear me sing.” I am here to tell you today that God does not care what you sound like; He wants you to praise Him anyway. I read a quote the other day that said, “When you can not sing, hum.” No matter how you sing praises of the name of Jesus, just remember for whom you sing. I do not believe that this verse means that you must literally sing, I believe that it means we are to praise God at all times. No matter how we choose to sing our praises to God, the important thing to remember is that He is worthy of our praise. We have been blessed beyond measure and we need to sing about that every day.

I want to challenge you this morning. Make it a point today to do each one of these things. Ask yourself these questions today:

Do I thank the Lord with all my heart?

Do I tell of all His wonderful deeds? 

Am I glad and do I rejoice in the Lord?

and finally,

Do I sing the praises of the Lord?

If you find yourself lacking in any of these areas, I want to encourage you today to focus on that and begin to work on it. Make it a point today to thank God. Tell others about all that He has done in your life. Rejoice in the Lord and sing His praises.

God is so good to us. Whether we take the time to realize it or not, we are blessed beyond measure. I want these words to be a challenge to you and me. Let us take our focus off of the troubles around us and let us begin to count our blessings and to thank God for all the things that He does in our lives.

Motivational Monday: Finding Hope


 hope3

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

I have chosen Monday as a day to write about things that will motivate you as you start yet another week, but to be honest I sometimes find it hard to be motivated myself. Monday morning comes and I am still thinking about the weekend and all the fun things that it held, and I find it hard to be motivated to begin another week.

I sometimes wonder what I can say that will motivate you. What can I say that will give you that little push you need to start your week off right?

As I was sitting here this morning having my quiet time, I kept running across a common theme in the Scriptures that God was giving me: Hope. As I sat and thought about these different scriptures I realized something: we can always use a little hope. No matter what is going on in our lives, whether we are on top of the biggest mountain or in the deepest valley, hope is something that we can always hold onto.

This morning I thought we could take some time and share about things that bring us hope. Maybe you have a favorite Scripture about hope. Maybe you have a favorite quote about having hope or passing hope along. For what do you hope? Where do you find hope? What do you hope for the future?

I thought since I find it hard myself to be motivated come Monday morning, that I would join you in this search for a little motivation, something to start my week out right.

Here are a few of my favorite Scriptures on hope. I pray that as you read them, you will find not only motivation to start your Monday, but hope to encourage your heart.

Romans 12:12Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

Jeremiah 29:11-“ 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.”

Isaiah 40:31 “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Romans 5:2-5- Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Do you have a favorite Scripture about hope? Do you have a quote that brings you hope? I would love to hear them. What better way to start a Monday than by sharing a little hope with fellow believers? God bless you today.

When the Storms of Life Come Your Way


Brooklyn_Museum_-_Saint_Peter_Walks_on_the_Sea_(Saint_Pierre_marche_sur_la_mer)_-_James_Tissot_-_overall

“And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Matthew 14:31

Throughout the school year our children are required by the school that they attend to memorize portions of Scripture. Each morning we gather together and say our pledges and read the scripture that they are to be learning. As part of their daily goals, they are required to learn a new verse of the Scripture and recite it to one of the teachers by the end of the day. The portion of Scripture that we are learning right now is found in Matthew 14:22-33.

If you have never stood in a room and listened to a group of children recite memory verses, you are missing out on a blessing. As I stand and listen to each of those children recite, from memory, a portion of God’s word, I can only imagine how God must feel as He watches these precious children hide His word in their hearts as He has commanded each of us to do.

Yesterday, my oldest son was quoting the verse that I have chosen to share with you today. As he recited his scripture, the words, “And immediately, Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him,” caught my attention.

I thought about the story of Peter and how he had asked Jesus to allow him to come and walk on the water. We know that in the story as Peter steps out on the water and begins to walk to Jesus he sees the storm around him, takes his eyes off of Jesus, and immediately begins to sink. In verse 30 we read that as Peter begins to sink, he cries out to God to save him.  Today I want us to focus on verse 31. Particularly the part that says, “And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him,”

How many times in our lives have we acted just as Peter did in this story we read today? We ask God for the opportunity to do something, or we ask God to open a door for us, and then when He does and things get a little rough, we get scared. We allow the storm to distract us and we take our eyes off of Jesus. Realizing that the situation in which we are standing is so much bigger than ourselves, we panic. In fear, we begin to sink. If we are smart, we will do as Peter did and cry out for God to save us.

The encouragement I want to offer to you today comes not from Peter walking on the water, nor from him getting scared and sinking, but from Jesus’ response to Peter as he begins to sink. You see, the very moment that Peter cried out for Jesus to save him, Jesus Immediately reached down and caught Peter. Friends, He wants to do the same for us. When life gets scary, when we look around and realize that the storm is here, when we let the storm distract us and we let fear get the better of us, God wants us to cry out to Him. When we do that, He will do just as He did for Peter. Immediately, God will reach down, and catch us. He will set our feet back on solid ground.

Life is full of opportunities, chances to allow God to show us His power. God wants us to step out in faith and come to Him, just as Peter did. Along with those opportunities, however, we may encounter a few storms, a few waves. There are lessons to be learned from this story:

First, I believe that we must never take our eyes off of the One who gives us the power to do the impossible. We must learn to keep our eyes on the source of our strength and not let the waves cause us to fear and doubt.

Second, I want us to remember that if we do get scared, if we take our eyes off of Jesus and begin to sink, we must do as Peter did and cry out to Him. Do not allow yourself to sink in despair. Do not let fear get the better of you, cry out to God and immediately he will reach down and catch you. He will not allow you to sink. He will not allow fear to overtake you. He will pick you up, and He will save you.