Thursday, May 31, 2018

How to Resist Temptation

Chuckle: "The trouble with resisting temptation is it may never come your way again.”
Quote: "O help me Father in heaven to overcome and resist temptation in every form or shape.” --Emmeline B. Wells

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV),
Who is tempted? The answer is -- everyone. Temptation even came to Jesus. "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one (Jesus) who has been tempted in every way, just as we are -- yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15 NIV). New Christians may be surprised to feel a pull toward those old sins of their previous life.
Who tempts us? God does not tempt us, but may use temptations to help us grow toward maturity. "God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone" (James 1:13 NIV). We tend to blame God for our weaknesses, but that blame is misplaced. It's not God's will for us to yield to temptation. When we yield, we are the ones who make the conscious decisions and no one is to blame but ourselves.
Some say: "I was just made that way - it's just my nature!" (liars, cheaters, thieves, adulterers, etc.). We justify our actions by blaming God for making us that way. "To err is human, but to blame God is even more human." Then if we don't blame God, we can blame our parents -- "it was the way they raised me." Parents often fail in their responsibilities, but yielding to temptation occurs within us and we make the decisions. Nobody can make you yield to temptation. Eve blamed the serpent and Adam blamed Eve, etc.
What are the results of yielding to temptation? "Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death" (James 1:15). When we succumb to the lure of temptation, we begin to die to purity, purpose, life, joy, meaning. How can you and I overcome temptation? We must deal with our desires. You don't have to give in -- its up to you. You are the final authority. You have a new nature in Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit lives within you. "Greater is He that lives in us than the one who lives in the world" (I John 4:4 KJV).
Here are some practical suggestions for dealing with temptations. (1) Recognize your desires as real and normal. (2) Keep your focus on Christ. A trained dog will "sit" in front of a steak keeping his eyes on his master, and will eat the steak only after the master signals it's OK. (3) Discover and understand the areas where you are the weakest and most vulnerability and stay away from temptations in those areas. If you don't want to be stung, stay away from hornet's nests. (4) Learn to say "no" in the power of the Holy Spirit. "Walk (live) by the power of the spirit and say no to the desires of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16). (5) Acknowledge past failures, ask God for forgiveness, and begin focusing on Him. Use the fellowship of Christians in your church to help you -- a friend -- an accountability group.
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Temptation Accountability

Chuckle: Returning from the concession stand, Marge asked a man at the end of the row, “Excuse me, did I step on your foot a few minutes ago?” Expecting an apology, the man said, “Yes you did.” Marge said, “Oh good. This is my row.”
Quote: "Opportunity knocks but once, but temptation leans on the doorbell." –Unknown source
"And remember, no one who wants to do wrong should ever say, 'God is tempting me.' God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else either. Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires. These evil desires lead (drag us) to evil actions, and evil actions (sins) lead to death. So don't be misled (deceived), my dear brothers and sisters" (James 1:13-16 NLT).
Last time, we saw that Temptation is "An enticement to satisfy a God-given desire in a God-forbidden way." We saw that desires for food, sexual intimacy, success, and acceptance are examples of God-given desires, but when we try to fulfill them in ways that God forbids we sin against God and others.
When we sin by giving in to temptation, we never intend to destroy ourselves, our families, our reputations, our happiness, but yielding can do all of these. And it can happen without us realizing it until it's too late. As Christians, we must be prepared to deal with temptation. Have you noticed that the proud are often the ones who fall the hardest?. They think it can never happen to them. Remember Peter who said to Jesus: "I will never forsake you Lord; I will never deny you." He was proud.
From our passage, here are the steps that yielding to temptation will take: (1) Desire for gratification in a sinful way; (2) Deception -- making the temptation appear desirable and normal; (3) Sin -- the ungodly act of yielding to evil temptations; and (4) Disaster and even death. ". . . . but each one is tempted when by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed" (vs. 14 NIV). The word "dragged" or "carried" away is a word for a trap, like one used to catch an animal. You hide/conceal it carefully but put attractive bait on it. "Entice" is like putting the most attractive bait on your hook. The unsuspecting fish is enticed to take the bait. The hook is not tempting but the bait is.
Biblical truths tell us that temptations: (1) Nearly always are related to the fulfillment of physical desires, not spiritual; (2) Usually include a desire for instant gratification; (3) Play on our desire for independence and self-rule. "I have a right to cheat on my taxes because the government is not fair -- because of what they are doing to me;" and (4) Questions the fairness of God. "God hasn't treated me right." It's easy to blame others and make excuses, but God holds only us accountable for our actions. We must remember: Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires.
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Temptation Awaits Us All

Chuckle: "One three-year-old's explanation for being in the kitchen atop a chair, eating cookies: 'I just climbed up to smell them, and my tooth got caught.'"
Quote: "If you don’t want temptation to follow you, don’t act as if you are interested.” --Richard L. Evans

"And remember, no one who wants to do wrong should ever say, 'God is tempting me.' God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else either. Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires. These evil desires lead (drag us) to evil actions, and evil actions (sins) lead to death. So don't be misled (deceived), my dear brothers and sisters" (James 1:13-16 NLT).
In our society, there is ample reason to be concerned that many people are being deceived by the blurring of the line between right and wrong – having no absolutes. James warns us not to be deceived. People can be wrong and not even know it -- deceived and headed in the wrong direction and not see the danger. Christians are not immune from being drawn off their moral course. Temptation is an enticement to satisfy a God-given desire in a God-forbidden way. Or, seeking satisfaction of a legitimate drive in an illegitimate way. Here are some drives that are prime targets of temptation.
The desire for food: Hunger is a natural desire which can go awry and lead to overeating -- the Bible calls it "gluttony." If you said to me: "Jerry, you are overeating," I wouldn't mind too much, but if you said: "Jerry, you are a glutton!" Ouch! Obviously, we should enjoy food, but we should combine healthy eating and adequate exercise if we wish to maintain healthy bodies – as a temple of the Holy Spirit. See 1 Corinthians 6:19.
The desire for sexual intimacy: This is a drive given us by God who intended its fulfillment to be in marriage. In counseling, married couples often say: "Oh how I wish I could undo the damage, the hurt, the guilt, of yielding to a sexual temptation outside of marriage." "How I wish I had stayed sexually pure and saved myself only for my marriage partner." God can and will forgive these sins but their damage to relationships may last a lifetime.
The desire for success: God gives us the desire to prosper through faithfulness and hard work. But sometimes we get off course. If you're a student, God gave you the desire to do well on that test. But, you pervert that desire when you give in to temptation and cheat -- or when a business person decides to lie and cheat to close a deal.
The desire for approval and acceptance: We all need acceptance, understanding, and approval. However, some compromise their principles just to win the approval of their peers. This especially true for teenagers where peer pressure is a compelling force.
As parents and grandparents, we have an awesome but joyful responsibility to teach our children and grandchildren from God's Word about how to resist temptation and avoid the pitfalls of sin. The best way to teach them is by example through our godly living.
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Monday, May 28, 2018

God's Amazing Power

Chuckle: After church, a Mom asked her young daughter what the lesson was about. The daughter answered, "Don't be scared, you'll get your quilt." Later in the day the perplexed Mom asked the pastor what that morning's Sunday school lesson was about. He said "Be not afraid, thy comforter is coming."
Quote: "The greatest single distinguishing feature of the omnipotence of God is that our imagination gets lost when thinking about it." --Pascal, Pensees

The Roman officer and other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, "Truly, this was the Son of God" (Matthew 27:54 NLT).
Like the public hangings which were prevalent in the earlier days of this country, the crucifixions of hardened criminals in New Testament times were not uncommon. Seeing the bleeding and lifeless body of an ordinary man hanging on a cross was not a significant event, and would only have produced reactions of grief from a few and disgust from others. But Jesus was no ordinary man, and when He died, it was no ordinary death. Those witnessing the event were awed by it all. As Jesus died, miraculous events occurred which struck terror into the hearts of the Roman soldiers and prompted their leader to say, "truly this was the Son of God."
God's power was evident in at least four miraculous events that occurred as Jesus died: (1) Darkness settled over the land; (2) The curtain in the Temple (between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place) was torn from top to bottom; (3) An earthquake rumbled and shook the ground; and (4) Some dead people were raised from their graves. The soldiers witnessed the earthquake, darkness, and possibly the people raised from their graves. When the eternal Son of the Most High God died, the event did not go unnoticed -- it was an amazing display of God's power. It's no wonder that they recognized Jesus as God's Son.
As I reflect on the power of God on display at the crucifixion and then later at Christ's glorious resurrection from the dead, I'm reminded that this same amazing power is available to you and me today. Listen to the apostle Paul: "I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty (incomparably great NIV) power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God's right hand in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 1:19-20 NLT). How many of us really believe that this same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us today as we serve Him in the power of His Spirit.
God wants to release His amazing power through us daily, but we must be willing to step out in faith and obedience while never doubting God's saving and sustaining power. Remember, there is nothing too difficult for our omnipotent and loving God.
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Friday, May 25, 2018

Remembering Their Service

                                           memorial day clip art memorial day clip art memorial day
Chuckle: Child's prayer: "Dear God, I'm an American. What are you?" Robert."
Ponder This: "It is . . . for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." --From Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address
"Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and import duties, and give respect and honor to all to whom it is due" (Romans 13:7 NLT).

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day because it was a time set aside to honor the Nation's Civil War dead by decorating their graves. In 1966, our Federal Government recognized Waterloo, New York as the official birthplace of Memorial Day on May 5, 1866. After World War I, the day became a time to honor all those who had died in all of America's wars. In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday to be celebrated the last Monday in May each year.
This Memorial Day holiday weekend reminds us to give thanks and honor to those men and women in uniform, who gave their lives to give us the life of freedom we now enjoy. We honor them and hold their personal sacrifices in highest esteem. It is important that we remember, and teach our children that the freedoms we enjoy come at a terrible price. "freedom isn't free!"
"All of us lead busy lives. We have little time to pause and reflect. But I ask you: Do not hasten through Memorial Day. Take time to remember the good souls whose memories are a blessing to you and your family. Take your children to memorial parks and monuments. Teach them the values that lend meaning to our lives and to the life of our nation. Above all, take the time to honor our fellow Americans who have given their last full measure of devotion to our country and for the freedoms we cherish." --Colin Powell
We usually wait until someone is gone to give them the honor that is due them. Then it's too late for them to know our appreciation for their sacrifice. We should be faithful to pray for those who are now serving and defending our country and protecting us here at home. Also, please pray for their families as their loved ones valiantly serve far from home, and for those whose loved ones have died in service to our country. They deserve recognition and honor for the price they have paid on our behalf.
While we are having fun enjoying the long holiday weekend, let's take time to thank God for our freedoms and reflect on the sacrifices of others that have made such freedoms possible. The sacrifices of others, should serve as examples for us and cause us to ponder, with renewed seriousness, ways we can serve our country that will help preserve this great republic and its freedoms we hold dear. ". . ., and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (2 Corinthians 3:17 NLT).
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Thursday, May 24, 2018

When You Pray

Chuckle: "According to a child, Samson slew the Philistines with the axe of the Apostles."
Quote: “Anything that dims my vision for Christ, or takes away my taste for Bible study, or cramps me in my prayer life, or makes Christian work difficult, is wrong for me; and I must, as a Christian, turn away from it.” --J. Wilbur Chapman

Jesus said, "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen of men. . . do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words" (Matthew 6:5,7 NIV).
As Jesus taught His disciples in His Sermon on the Mount, He didn't tell them to pray because He assumed they would do so as a part of their normal routine. Rather, He focused on teaching them how to, and how not to, pray to make their prayers acceptable to the Father. Jesus warns of two dangers when it comes to prayer.
First, He tells them not to be hypocrites. Hypocrites pretend to be something they aren’t. They are play-acting, and may fool people into thinking they are devoted followers of Christ, when, in fact, they are only trying to draw attention to themselves. Praying in public should only be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our prayer life. Every word we utter in public prayer should be backed by thousands of words uttered in a private quiet place with only God as our audience. In the same way that only ten percent of an iceberg is visible above the surface, the ten percent of our spiritual lives visible to people should be based on the 90 percent visible only to God. When we pray in secret, Jesus says, "Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you" (verse 6b). Jesus does not prohibit public prayers, but deals with the attitude of the heart.
Second, He warns us about empty babblings in our public prayers. Pagans (unbelievers) may believe in a higher power, but feel they must use many words to get his attention -- the more words they use, the more likely they are to be heard, and the more likely he will do their bidding. It’s not the length of our prayers that's important. God already knows what we need (verse 8), but has instructed us to ask (Matthew 7:7).
In 1 Kings 18, we find the prophet, Elijah, challenging the prophets of Baal to call upon their gods to light the fire on the altar. They yelled, screamed, and cut themselves to get their god's attention, but nothing happened. Elijah needled them by saying maybe their god was asleep or had gone on a trip. Then Elijah prayed a very simple prayer (1 Kings 18:36-37) which God answered in a mighty way.
Our rewards for praying in secret according to the will of the Father will be answered prayers and sweet fellowship with our Lord. Is Jesus' assumption wrong? Do we pray? If so, are we willing to allow Him to teach us how to pray? After Jesus had taught his followers about the importance of praying in secret, He gave them the Model Prayer -- often called "The Lord's Prayer." Let's ask God to show us how to make our prayers more acceptable to Him.
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Faith to Live By

Chuckle: “If con is the opposite of pro, then isn’t congress the opposite of progress?” –Jon Stewart
Quote: “Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe. It is not enough that a thing be possible for it to be believed.” --Francois Voltaire
"But without faith it is impossible to please Him (God) . . ." (Hebrews 11:6 NIV). ". . . in the gospel (good news) a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: 'The righteous will live by faith'" (Romans 1:17 NIV).
If you are living by faith, you must believe that God will respond to you when you earnestly seek Him. Without this kind of faith, you cannot please God. Regardless of the good deeds you perform, the impressive words you speak, or the sacrifices you make for his sake, if you do not have faith, you will not please Him. You may say, "I love God, but I just have difficulty trusting Him to meet my daily needs." Then you are not pleasing Him. Faith keeps you in a trusting relationship with God even in the midst of severe problems. Faith has to do with your relationship with God, not your circumstances. Nothing is more secure than that which you entrust to God. When the Bible says, "Without faith it is impossible to please God," God is teaching us that to have faith is to:
1. Trust God's Word and live our lives accordingly. "All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. . . ." (2 Timothy 3:16 ). We must never doubt that God's Word is true, He will keep his promises, and He is trustworthy in every aspect of our lives.
2. Obey God's commands and teach them to others. "We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands" (I John 1:3 NIV). " . . . . and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:20 NIV). These last words are a part of Jesus' "Great Commission." As disciples, we are to make disciples of others.
3. Trust him to meet all our needs. "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19 NIV). Jesus had no place to sleep; yet, he shared the heavenly Father's unlimited resources with us. We can count on God because of what He has done for us in Christ.
4. Be assured that God will bring good from each crisis in your life. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28 NIV). This verse does not say that only good things will happen to us. But it does say that God will use every situation to achieve his purposes for you life -- for your ultimate good.
5. Claim God's promise to never leave us alone. "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20b NIV). ". . . because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5 NIV). God's Holy Spirit remains with us and lives within us as Christians. Therefore, God never leaves us.
6. Never doubt God's love because his love is eternal. "I have loved you with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3 NIV). "This is how God showed his love among us; He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him" (I John 4:9 NIV). It’s comforting to know God’s love for you is everlasting, forgiving, and sustaining.
7. Understand that faith without actions is dead. "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead" (James 2:17 NIV). Genuine faith will please God and be evidenced by our actions in service to others in Jesus' name.
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Dealing with Discouragement

Chuckle: "You know it's going to be a bad day when your birthday cake collapses from the weight of the candles."
Good Quote: "If the devil cannot make you puffed up by pride, he will try to dampen your spirit by discouragement. It's his best tool!" --Unknown source

"Now I am deeply discouraged, . . ." (Psalm 42:6 NLT).
Have circumstances caused you to feel discouraged and ready to throw in the towel and give up? You may have lost your job and the search for a new one may have been fruitless. Many of us get discouraged and depressed when things do not turn out the way we had planned or desired. Another translation of our passage says, "My soul is downcast within me."
The psalmist was in exile far away from his home in Jerusalem and could not worship His Lord in the Temple. He could not be home for the God-given holidays, when his people remembered all that God had done for them. He was lonely and feeling sorry for himself. He was discouraged.
As a professional soldier for many years, there were times when I was far away from home and family, and I sometimes found myself with a deep sense of discouragement and loneliness -- especially when I had to miss special times with my family like anniversaries, birthdays, and Christmas holidays. During those times I needed to turn my attention away from myself and toward God and to focus on His love, mercy, grace, and all that He had done for me. God has always been my anchor and gives me a deep sense of inner peace and contentment.
How does God help you when you are discouraged? He does so in many ways including these. First, He helps by always being with you. "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5b). Second, He helps by understanding what you are going through. Jesus said, "When the world hates you, remember it hated me before it hated you" (John 15:18). Third, He helps by comforting and strengthening you. "May our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father, who loved us and in His special favor gave us everlasting comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and give you strength in every good thing you do and say" (1 Thessalonians 2:16-17).
Notice that the psalmist did not keep his feelings bottled up inside himself. No, he voiced his feelings to God and fellow worshipers. He was honest in describing his emotional state. I'm reminded of words from an old hymn: "Take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there." If you find yourself discouraged and downcast, take those feelings to your Lord who will lift you up and carry you through each circumstance. Also, find someone you love and trust with whom to share your burdens and be encouraged.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Prepare for Jesus' Return

Chuckle: A sign under a mounted fish: "If I had kept my mouth shut, I wouldn't be here!"
Good Quote: "A life without hope is a life without meaning." --Unknown

The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!". . . Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and . . . take the free gift of the water of life. . . He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:17, 20 NIV).
Here in the last few verses of the Bible, we are reminded that anyone may come to Jesus to experience the joy of His salvation. You may recall the account in John 4:10-15, when Jesus met the Samaritan woman at a well and told her about the living water that He could supply. He extended the universal invitation to come to Him and drink of the water of life. We live in a world experiencing severe thirst for the living water. It's not too late for us to extend God's invitation to everyone we know to come and drink. When they do, then they can look forward with excitement and anticipation to our Lord's next coming.
The Bible teaches repeatedly and clearly that the same Jesus who came to earth 2,000 years ago, will come again to claim His church (all true believers) and to welcome them into that eternal city called heaven. That Jesus will come again is a foundational tenet of the Christian faith.
To leave the readers of God's Word with a final reminder of Jesus' coming, the promise is reemphasized in the final verses of the Bible. One last time, the Scriptures point us to Jesus in whom we have our hope. When we really hope for something, it will be a preoccupation in our minds and it will give us focus and direction as we anticipate the fulfillment of that hope.
We see the words of Jesus when He said, "Yes, I'm coming soon." The word, "soon" means "at any moment." This is wonderful news for those who have placed their faith and hope in Him, but frightening news for those without hope who have rejected Him. The Scriptures do not give us a date when Jesus will return, but we are taught to live each day as if it is the day of our Lord's return -- be ready to meet Him. If we know Him, we long for His return.
If we know Christ and long for Him and His return, we will gain eternal treasures beyond description. But, If we long for the treasures of this world we will spend our lives pursuing them and in the end will we have nothing. Do you long for Jesus' return, or are you fearful because you are not ready to meet Him? Come to Him in repentance and faith and He will forgive your sins and prepare you to meet Him with anticipation and without fear.
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Friday, May 18, 2018

Rest in Christ

Chuckle: "A nice box of chocolates can provide your total intake of calories in one place. Isn't that handy?"
Good Quote: "You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in you." --St Augustine of Hippo

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28 NIV).
Rest comes to us as Christians when we walk closely with our Lord with an attitude of total dependence upon Him and His strength. Jesus is fully aware of our needs and He provides us a deep well of inexhaustible rest and refreshment. But we must be still and recognize Him as our Lord.
Jesus understands that you may be carrying heavy burdens of (1) sin in your life, (2) excessive demands on your time and energy, (3) oppression and persecution, or (4) just plain weariness. Jesus wants to lighten all these burdens. The rest that Jesus promises includes love, healing, and peace with God, not the end of all labor. His rest is the absence of guilt, worry, anxiety, and lack of purpose.
A close relationship with Jesus Christ changes the meaningless, wearisome toil into refreshing spiritual productivity and purpose. If your life is dedicated to the purpose of loving and serving Him, you will be amazed at the rest and refreshment He will provide even during the most hectic times in your life. He will give you rest both in body and in spirit.
Jesus continues, "Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:29-30 NIV).
A yoke is a heavy wooden harness that fits over the shoulders of oxen. The yoke is attached to a piece of equipment such as a plow or a wagon for the oxen to pull. Jesus pictures such a yoke as extremely heavy and burdensome. But then He contrasts it with the yoke He asks us to bear as His followers which is light and restful in comparison. His yoke is lighter and not burdensome because it is His strength that does His work through us. When we really love our Lord and want to serve Him, He will always amaze us with His rest, refreshment, peace, and contentment.
 Love, Jerry & Dotse

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Perils of Pride

Chuckle: A preacher said to a very dignified lady at a wedding -- "Are you a friend of the groom?" She replied, "I should say not. I'm the mother of the bride."
Good Quote: “Of all the causes which conspire to blind Man's erring judgment, and misguide the mind; What the weak head with strongest bias rules,— Is pride, the never-failing vice of fools.” --Alexander Pope

"So do we have a reason to brag about ourselves? No! And why not? It is the way of faith that stops all bragging, not the way of trying to obey the law" (Romans 3:27 NIV).
Many Christians are like the woodpecker who was pecking away on the trunk of a dead tree. Suddenly lightning struck the tree and splintered it. The woodpecker flew away unharmed. Looking back to where the dead tree had stood, the proud bird exclaimed, "Look what I did!"
Pride is undue confidence in and attention to one's own skills, position, accomplishments, or possessions. Pride is easier to recognize than to define, and easier to recognize in others than in oneself. Many biblical words describe this concept, each with its own emphasis. Some other words for pride include arrogance, presumption, conceit, self-satisfaction, boasting, and high-mindedness.
Pride in humans has been around since Adam and Eve, and It inspired their disobedience of God. It is always with us and is the basis of all sin. A common form pride is the pride of privilege. When a person is given a special position, he/she forgets that it was given and becomes proud, as if his own works had earned the victory. God knows man's heart and made many references to the perils which accompany pride. "Pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverted mouth, I hate" (Proverbs 8:13 NIV)!

I think God has so much to say about pride because, ultimately, a prideful person is saying, "I don't need God -- I can handle my life on my own." As our Creator and Sustainer, God has the perfect plan laid out before us. Our attempting to "go it alone" will only lead us down a path of disappointment and self-destruction. No one knows that better than God -- He has seen pride destroy the lives of His creations throughout history.
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall"
(Proverbs 16:18 NIV).
If pride is an issue in your life, ask God to remove the focus from yourself and return to a healthy focus on Him. Leave your trappings of pride, ego and accomplishments behind - so you may stand in His presence without fear of being rebuked. Pride won't find a foothold in a heart that sees its sinful state and its need for God's grace and mercy.
When the nineteenth-century American evangelist, Asahel Nettleton, was asked what he considered the best safeguard against spiritual pride, he replied: "I know of nothing better than to keep my eye on my great sinfulness."
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Advice and Instruction

Chuckle: "Wouldn't you know it . . . brain cells come and brain cells go, but fat cells live forever."
Quote: “Many receive advice, but the wise profit from it.” --Publilius Syrus

"Get all the advice and instruction you can, and be wise the rest of your life" (Proverbs 19:20 NLT).
We all like to think we are wise and can make sensible decisions based on our own life experiences, education, and common sense. Teenagers can be resistant to advice, especially if it comes from mom and dad who, by definition, just don't know anything. But the problem is not limited to teenagers. Some of us older folks are so set in our ways that any advice that suggests changing the way we think and act is automatically rejected. We often rely on these overused words: "I've never done it that way." Today, I challenge each of us to examine our attitudes toward receiving advice and counsel.
After watching the swing of a pupil, the golf pro began making suggestions for improvement. But each time the pupil interrupted with his own version of what was wrong and how to correct it. After a few minutes, the pro began nodding his head in agreement. At the end of the session, the student paid the pro, congratulated him on his expertise as a teacher, and left in an obviously pleased frame of mind.
An astonished observer asked the pro, "Why did you go along with him?" "Son," the old pro said with a grin, as he pocketed his fee, "I learned long ago that it's a waste of time to try to sell answers to a man who only wants to buy echoes."
Obviously, not all advice is good advice. Larry Burkett put it this way: "A wise man seeks much counsel . . . a fool listens to all of it." We must learn to discern between wise and foolish counsel. But the point of this lesson is to open our minds to fresh and new ideas that can positively affect the way we live, make decisions, and relate to other people. Of course our best sources of advice for living are God's Word and the counsel of godly people.
But we can close our spiritual ears to the point that we cannot accept advice even from God himself. This attitude can prevail in an individual Christian or the entire church. A church can become so locked in tradition that form and format become more important than substance in worship. The Holy Spirit cannot work freely in such an environment.
A key ingredient of true wisdom is the recognition of personal intellectual and spiritual need for counsel combined with the willingness to accept and utilize advice and education, especially spiritual instruction. "Fools think they need no advice, but the wise listen to others" (Proverbs 12:15 NLT). The more we learn the more we realize how much we don't know. When our physical and spiritual minds are open to learning, we will become much more valuable in the Lord's work as we serve other people.
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


Chuckle: "Adolescence is that period when a boy refuses to believe that someday he will be as ignorant as his parents."
Good Quote: "Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven." --Henry Ward Beecher

"In Love He (God) predestined (chose) us to be adopted as his sons (children), through (faith in) Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will . . . . " (Ephesians 1:5 NIV).
To adopt means to choose and take someone into one's family by a legal procedure. There's something about the word "adopted" that stirs a warm feeling within us. When a child is adopted, we know he or she is accepted, loved, and wanted as part of a family. Being adopted denotes a special bond between the adopters and adoptee. Listen to this touching story.
A new mother stayed with her parents for several days after the birth of her first child. One afternoon she remarked to her mother that it was surprising that the baby had dark hair, since both her husband and she were fair. The grandmother said, "Well, your daddy has black hair." To which the daughter replied, "But Mama, that doesn't matter, because I'm adopted." With an embarrassed smile, that mother said the most wonderful words her daughter had ever heard: "I always forget."
Can you imagine how much her mother's expression of love and acceptance meant to this daughter? Similarly, God has expressed his love for us, and says, "I always forget" that sin once kept you from being my child. All Christians are adopted children of God and are accepted by God with the same unconditional love that this mother had for her daughter. In Scripture, adoption is a relationship conferred by God's act of free grace which redeems each of us from the bondage of sin.
". . . God sent his Son, born of woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons (children) . . . So you are no longer a slave, but a son (child); and since you are a son (child), God has made you also and heir" (Galatians 4:5-7 NIV). "Now if we are children, then we are heirs -- heirs of God and co-heirs (of God's kingdom) with Christ. . ." (Romans 8:17 NIV).
Adoption is the legal proceeding whereby a person who is not a child's natural parent becomes the child's legal parent. Adopted children enjoy all the same rights and privileges as biological children. In a similar spiritual way, we, as adopted children of God, enjoy God's favor as does His one and only Son, Jesus.
God's intention, and the result of our adoption as his children, is to give us a change in status, which was planned from eternity and brought about by Jesus Christ. The presence of the Spirit of God in our lives is both the instrument and the result of this relationship. Our being chosen as the adopted children of God is solely dependent upon the atoning blood of Jesus Christ and our personal saving relationship with Christ through faith.
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Monday, May 14, 2018

One Little Candle

Chuckle: Sign in a small cafe with great food and an attitude: "If you can't smell it, we ain't got it!"
Quote: "Your light is the truth of the Gospel message itself as well as your witness as to who Jesus is and what He has done for you. Don't hide it." --Anne Graham Lotz

“Don't hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father" (Matthew 5:15-16 NLT).
During the last general election, I'm sure many decided that "my one vote won't make any difference, so why bother." If you allowed this kind of logic to rob you of the privilege and satisfaction of exercising one of our most precious rights as citizens, I hope you will reconsider next time. If the millions of Americans had voted, who did not vote, the outcome might have been different in many races. A single vote does make a difference.
Sadly, I think many Christians have a similar attitude about the importance of their testimony and witness for Christ. It's easy to say, "I'm just one little insignificant candle and the light of my witness won't make much difference in this world of darkness. I think this is one of Satan's most insidious tactics -- to make you think you are useless to God so why even try to serve Him.
The great evangelist, Dwight L. Moody said, "Remember, a small light will do a great deal when it is in a very dark place. Put one little tallow candle in the middle of a large hall, and it will give a great deal of light."
Jesus is the Light of the world, and it is our duty to let His light be reflected through us by our words and actions that honor Him and communicate His love to others. I'm reminded of an old hymn that goes like this:
While passing thro' this world of sin, And others your life shall view,
Be clean and pure without, within, Let others see Jesus in you.
Keep telling the story, Be faithful and true, Let others see Jesus in you.
Christmas candlelight services remind us that the light of individual Christians can have a significant impact on those around them. But when the lights of all Christians are shining in unison, great areas of darkness can be bathed in the light of Christ's love. Please don't ever underestimate your importance as a single candle in Christ's "Light Brigade!" I heard someone say, "It's far better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness."
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Friday, May 11, 2018

A Gentle Heart

Good Morning:               Image result for free christian clip art mother's day 
 Chuckle: "Doctor,' whined the patient. "I keep seeing spots before my eyes." "Why have you come to me? Have you seen an ophthalmologist?" "No," replied the patient, "just these spots."
Good Quote: "The person who does things that count doesn't usually stop to count them." --Unknown
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love" (Ephesians 4:2 NIV).
As we honor our Mothers on their special day, I’m reminded that many mothers set a beautiful example of gentleness bathed in unconditional love for their Husbands and children, their families. In return, they deserve our sincere gratitude, love, respect, and kindness. “Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength” –Apples of Gold; compiled by Jo Petty
In Galatians 5:22, we find the fruits of the Spirit recorded. They are the products of Christ's control of our lives by His Spirit within us. They include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Notice that "gentleness" is one of the indicators of a Holy Spirit filled and controlled life.
The word "gentleness" suggests the yielding of a judge, who, instead of demanding the exact penalty required by strict justice, gives way to circumstances which call for leniency and mercy. The word also suggests mildness of manner, or easy, not rough or harsh in dealing with others. It is closely related to "kindness." It certainly should be one of the Christ-like qualities of every believer. A gentle person is one to whom we are readily attracted -- one who we are comfortable being around.
As Christians, we are privileged that God has chosen us to be Christ's representatives here on earth. "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us" (2 Corinthians 5:20 NIV). As such, we are challenged each day to live worthy of the calling we have received. We are to "gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth" (2 Timothy 2:25 NIV). When we think about how gentle, patient, and loving God has been with us, we should be adequately motivated to let His attributes flow through us.
The very nature of God is revealed through the life of a gentle person. We can be sure that others are watching those of us who claim the name of Christ to see if we are genuine -- if we practice what we preach. To be genuine, we must know Christ, love Him, remember Him, and imitate Him. "Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins" (Ephesians 5:2 NLT).
Each day, you and I can be gentle reminders of God's love, grace, mercy, and gentleness. Let's join our hearts in prayer that God will make us gentle and humble in the power of His Holy Spirit.
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Endurance is Rewarded

Chuckle: A driver slowed when he saw the “sold out” sign. He pulled into the next station with $3.00 gas. He complained to the operator about the cheaper gas down the street, but they are sold out. The operator said, ”Our gas is only $2.00 a gallon when we're sold out."
Today’s Quote: “There is a strength of quiet endurance as significant of courage as the most daring feats of prowess” --Henry Theodore Tuckerman

"We must not become tired of doing good. We will receive our harvest of eternal life at the right time if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9 NCV). "So don't get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time" (NLT).
Sometimes we come to places in life where just giving up and quitting seem to be the best alternatives. You may feel like you're banging your head against a wall in you work or profession. You may feel discouraged because of the choices made by your children or grandchildren. There will be many times in life when you will feel like throwing in the towel. Let's think together about what God would have us do in these situations.
First, let's keep in mind that our salvation is not earned by what we do -- doing good is not enough. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this is not of ourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV). So, if our salvation is not determined by our doing good works, what is the "harvest of eternal life/blessing" that Paul advances in our Galatians passage? I think the next verse in Ephesians 2 will help answer that question. "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2:10 NIV).
If our salvation is by grace through faith, and God has prepared the good works we are to do as Christians, what is our reward for faithfulness in fulfilling the purpose and good works God has planned? Listen to Paul again: "If any man builds on this foundation (Jesus Christ) using Gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, . . . It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's (person's) work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames" (1 Corinthians 3:12-15 NIV).
In summary, if you are born again Christian, your eternal life in heaven is assured. However, you should desire to please your Lord by living for Him by faithfully serving others -- the good works God has planned for you to do. If you endure to the end by faithfully doing good, you will receive your rewards in heaven. Will you be one who receives a harvest of rewards or one who enters God's presence and receives no rewards? Will you hear God say, "Well done, good and faithful servant?" (Matthew 25:21 NIV).
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Wednesday, May 9, 2018


Chuckle: Beautician: Did that mud-pack I gave you for your girlfriend improve her appearance? Man: It did for a while -- but then it fell off.
Good Quote: "Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses." --Dr. George Washington Carver

Jesus replied: "A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many  guests . . . But they all alike began to make excuses" (Luke 14:16, 18 NIV).
In our passage, Jesus was teaching His followers through a parable about a great banquet that God is preparing and He is inviting all of us to the celebration. But many who were invited began to make excuses for not accepting the invitation. You may have heard the saying: "If you don't want to do something, one excuse is as good as another." This begs the question: Why are so many of God's people too busy to do his bidding?
I have often heard this excuse, and, regretfully, I've used it myself: "I just have too much on my plate right now" to serve God more fully and faithfully. We can all be certain it isn't God who has filled our plates. We do that ourselves with all the things that take our time, energy, and other resources. Often, our plates are filled with everything except the most important -- God's plan for our lives.
In Jesus' story, many people turned down the banquet invitation because the timing was inconvenient. They had other more pressing demands on their time. We too may resist or postpone our response to God's invitation, and the excuses we offer may sound perfectly reasonable. You may use work requirements, family responsibilities, financial needs, etc. But make no mistake, God's invitation, whether it be for salvation or for Christian service, is the most important bidding in our lives, no matter how inconvenient the timing may seem.
As a Christian, if you find yourself making excuses for not making time for answering God's call to service, please remember the Holy Spirit who dwells within you. If you will allow Him to help you filter out all the "junk" that's on your plate, you will suddenly realize that you have time for God, family, work, etc. If the Holy Spirit has convicted you in this area, let Him help you readjust your priorities. What are you willing to give up to accept God's invitation? Just give God complete control of your life and your problem will be solved.
If you have never received Christ as Savior, please respond to His invitation by placing your trust in Him today. You have no guarantee of tomorrow. Without making excuses, just ask Him to forgive your sins and come into your heart and life as Savior and Lord.
Love, Jerry & Dotse