Category Archives: Giving Thanks

Familiar Worship

John 4:23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.

A few weeks ago during Praise & Worship at church (I told you about that earlier), the Lord took me back to the days of old and reminded me of my love of worship. I was singing a song that we’ve sung numerous times; the words were on the screen and etched in my mind. The problem was the song was great to sing, but that is not why we’re signing it. The reason God took me back was because I found myself singing the words to the song, yet not singing them to the God who loves me so much. True worship is to “worship the Father in spirit and truth.” One thing I’ve always done during praise and worship is change up certain words of the songs, to take it from second to first person. That was always something that helps me intentionally keep my focus on Jesus. I can then sing them as if I wrote them myself specifically to sing to my closest friend. I would change the We to I or the His/Him to You (just a couple so you get the picture).

This is just one small way I keep the worship from becoming too familiar. I’ve heard my wife use the saying, “Familiarity Breeds Contempt,” when speaking about how easy it is to neglect and disparage the very thing that used to be “sacred.” The very words used to lift up the name of the Lord can become familiar and seem like just words. It sounds horrible doesn’t it? I’ve got a suggestion for you should you ever find yourself going thru the motions during praise and worship. Don’t waste time feeling condemned, because the devil would like nothing less. Instead, be excited that the Jesus loves you so much that He’s willing to remind you how to be a “true worshipers.” He will give you ways to keep His worship fresh thru you, in “in spirit and truth.” Whether it be changing the words while singing or saturating yourself in scripture prior to; so you’re reminded of just how much love God has for you. Whatever you choose just believe God receives it in Jesus name. Now go on and get your worship on…..

Oh Come Let Us Adore Him!!!

Matthew 2:1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,  2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

As we prepare to celebrate this Christmas with our family and close friends, I cannot help but remember the greatest gift who is so often forgotten.  Jesus Christ is the reason that we celebrate every December 25th, not because that was his actual birthday, but because God sent Him as a redemptive gift that we can received for free.

I love the lyrics “Oh Come Let Us Adore Him” from the very popular Christmas favorite “O Come All Ye Faithful.” I absolutely love hearing these word because it sets my soul on fire; encouraging me to stop everything (all of the craziness or this world) and go worship Christ Jesus.  At the end of the day that is all that really matters.

In Matthew, three Wise Men also called Magi (Magi were men who were the advisors to kings in some countries; often asked to interpret the kings’ dreams and gained much of their wisdom by studying the stars) dropped everything they were doing in order to go and worship the coming “King of Jerusalem” (Somehow, when a very special star appeared in the sky, they knew they should follow it).

These Magi were chosen by God to seek out and bless His only begotten Son.  We have been given by God, the indescribable gift of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  He is our Savior, Redeemer and Friend.  We have the privilege of relationship with Christ, and the opportunity to receive His unfailing love.  Oh Come Let Us Adore Him; the word adore, according to Webster’s is 1) to love and respect (someone) deeply;  2) to worship or revere.  Oh Come Let Us Love, Respect, Worship and Revere Jesus Christ our Lord:

-We Love Him because He first Loved us, giving His life on the Cross for ours.
-We Respect Him because He didn’t come to earth to be served (He deserves it) but to serve each of us.
-We Worship Him because He is the Great “I AM,” King of Kings, & the Messiah; who deserves worship.
-We Revere Him because everything about Him is all together lovely & as He is so are we in this world.

Oh Come Let Us Adore Him Jesus Christ our Lord!!!

Happy Birthday Jesus

The First Happy Meal

John 4:34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.

Today we began what we hope to be our final home church search, as we have settled in the Houston area for good. As far as we know what God’s plans are. We don’t always look forward to this because it has very often been a very long and arduous process for us, because Jesus Christ and His finished work is not the focus of many churches out here today. Anyway that is not the topic of today’s blog.

In the message we heard today, the preacher gave an illustration using some of McDonald’s old jingles and other fast food chains. I could not help but think of the Happy meals I used to each as a kid and now my kids enjoy. Well at least my daughter, my boys feel “too old” for those kid meals.

Today’s verse really serves as a reminder to me about just how grateful we should all be that Jesus gave us the first “Happy Meal.” Let me show you:

Prior to this verse, the disciples were with Jesus and departed to go find food. They were in the middle of a 70 mile trip from Judea to Galilee. So after leaving Jesus to rest at this well, they came back with a meal for Him, so He could be replenished.  Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. What they did not realize is that Jesus had already had a Happy Meal of His own. I use the term Happy here because the Hebrew word for blessed (Esher) means Happy or Happiness and it blessed Jesus to do God’s will and to finish His work. But really it blesses us for Jesus to do God’s will and Finish His work. Because that work was finished on Calvary’s cross and redeemed us all. Jesus’ great act of love is what feed Him. This was truly the first Happy Meal….Praise be to God!!!!

When You’ve Finished Your Race

2 Tim 4:6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

On Friday, May 15th, 2015 I retired after 20 years of Active Duty service with the United States Coast Guard (the country’s premiere military/humanitarian service). What an unbelievable 24 total years it has been, when you include my time at the CG Academy. As I was preparing my final speech as an Active Duty Officer, I could not help but be drawn to Paul’s letter to his colleague and mentee Timothy, in preparation for his departure. I was able to use this text to highlight many very important things I’d experienced over my career both professionally and personally.

I like this text because:

Paul discerns that God is bringing him to the end of his mission. We often want clear direction of what our next step in life should be. Trust that the Lord knows and wants to direct you. “Trust Him with all of your heart… and he will direct you path,” which includes the closing of one chapter and opening of the next.

Paul really appreciated his battle. God gave Paul a passion and led him through many obstacles. He also allowed Paul to win many to his side of the battle along the way. This ensured that many would be able to continue the battle after he left. We have the opportunity to touch many along our journey and there should be many left to keep the fight alive.

Paul took some time to acknowledge his many accomplishments. His work was significant, much of which is still being realized even today. It is really easy to keep pressing and never acknowledge all that God has accomplished through us. God delights in using His Son/Daughters to carry out His work and we must acknowledge it and appreciate God’s hand is bringing it to pass.

He held his faith in high regard. The text says that he “kept the faith,” the Greek word for kept means to attend to carefully, to take care of, observe and hold in very high regard. He took very good care of his faith, feeding it, exercising it, acknowledging its source and guarding it from outside influences. Paul understood that his faith was the most significant part of his journey. It’s what sparked his passion, strengthened his endurance and help to visualize the promise. Remember that what you believe will impact your actions in life.

Lastly, Paul saw the big picture. He saw what his ultimate goal was. When we see the big picture the journey is just a little bit more tolerable. The Crown of Righteousness he knew was waiting on him, made the tough times seem a little bit better and the fun time that much more enjoyable. See what is at your finish line, it will help you press beyond your breaking point and look forward to your future.

Paul’s Valedictory letter to Timothy and the church is a perfect model for reflection on our life’s journey. A model that helped me articulate God’s greatness during my 24 years in the Coast Guard. I’m so grateful for His active role in my career and life……and I’ll tell it everywhere I go; including the next chapter….

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Ps 106:1 Praise the LORD!  Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

Many of you are like me, in that over the years you’ve come to thank God throughout the year and not just the last Thursday in November.  Yet I cannot help but have an increased sense of thankfulness during this time of the year.  The text states to Praise the LORD. This Hebrew word for Praise in this text is hallal (to praise, to make a show or rave about, to glory in or boast upon, to be clamorously foolish about your adoration of God).  David is telling us to brag or rave about our adoration for our Lord Jesus.

We live in a time where not everyone is necessarily excited about life and many feel like they don’t have anything to be thankful for.  So let’s look at David’s Psalm again to determine just why he was so exuberant in his praise. Oh, give thanks to the LORD, here’s why we do need to give thanks:

1.  God Is So Goodfor He is good!  We have heard this saying many times: “God is good, all the time & all the time God is good.”  Although this statement is often over used out of tradition rather than sincerity, it may be the truest statement ever made.  God is indeed good!  This Hebrew word towb is defined by about 40 different English words that ultimately mean excellent.  The Lord is excellent.  We should give thanks for the fact that our Lord Jesus is excellent, because all our righteousness are like filthy rags (Isa 64:6) and we were in desperate need of an excellent sacrifice.  A sacrifice that would cover all of our sins…forever.  Yet, what we got was exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ever need.  Jesus is perfect making Him the only one that could be sacrificed to cover every one of our sins, but even more than that He became our GOOD friend, who walks with us every day and is concerned about our every need. We are able to happily give thanks this week because Jesus is “GOOD.”

2.  God Is Full Of MercyFor His mercy endures forever. The term mercy used here means goodness, kindness, faithfulness, compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender or an enemy.  So God’s compassion and kindly forbearance toward each of us endures forever. We can be thankful because God’s mercy for us is in it for the long haul; David said that it endures (last long, holds out, without yielding, patiently waits and loves without judgment).  God has been merciful with each one of us.  The fact is we deserve death but we have a loving God who is so (patient, long suffering, kind & gentle) to us that He gave our judgment to His only begotten Son.  We are able to happily give thanks this week because Jesus is full of “MERCY.”

Conclusion:  I can only close with David’s words; Praise the LORD!  Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. And while you’re doing that, have a GREAT THANKSGIVING!!!