Monday, April 30, 2012


Unforgiveness keeps us from being present in the present.
-- Brian Charette

Lord, Forgive us our trespasses... we forgive those who trespass against us.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Multi-taking is doing nothing all at the same time.
-- Brian Charette

Lord, when we are in Your presence for increased intimacy and when we are present with our loved ones, help us to be truly focused on being with You and/or being with them. Let us not fool ourselves by thinking that we can accomplish other less important things simultaneously. Help us to be present in the present at all times beginning NOW! In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Let's Cherish This Moment, Today!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Send a Gleam Across the Wave

Each year the men from our local church join me for a three-day retreat along the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Our first stop is at the Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station.

On these grounds remembered for courageous at-sea rescues, a quartet from our men's group stands among us and sings an old inspiring hymn written by Philip P. Bliss -- "Let The Lower Lights Be Burning". It reaches to the depths of our souls.

Click here: Let the Lower Lights Be Burning - YouTube

Brightly beams our Father’s mercy,
From His lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.

Let the lower lights be burning!
Send a gleam across the wave!
Some poor struggling, fainting seaman,
You may rescue, you may save.

Dark the night of sin has settled,
Loud the angry billows roar;
Eager eyes are watching, longing,
For the lights along the shore.

Trim your feeble lamp, my brother;
Some poor sailor, tempest-tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor,
In the darkness may be lost.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Present in the Present... NOW!

Teach us to number each of our days so that we may grow in wisdom. -- Psalm 90:12 (GWT)

Lord, help us not to sit in the chair of past regrets or in the chair of future anxiety. Instead let us be found present in the present, yes sitting in the chair of Your NOW grace. In Jesus' name. Amen.

I once was lost but NOW I'm found, was blind but NOW I see.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rescue The Perishing

Click here: Rescue the Perishing.wmv - YouTube

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.

Though they are slighting Him, still He is waiting,
Waiting the penitent child to receive;
Plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently;
He will forgive if they only believe.

Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.

Rescue the perishing, duty demands it;
Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
Back to the narrow way patiently win them;
Tell the poor wand’rer a Savior has died.

Praise our Life-Saviour!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Jesus Savior Pilot Me

On my boat captain, Granddaddy Gray's gravestone are the words of The Sailor's Hymn:

Jesus, Savior, pilot me
Over life’s tempestuous sea;
Unknown waves before me roll,
Hiding rock and treacherous shoal.

Chart and compass come from Thee;
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.
While th’Apostles’ fragile bark
Struggled with the billows dark,

On the stormy Galilee,
Thou didst walk upon the sea;
And when they beheld Thy form,
Safe they glided through the storm.

Though the sea be smooth and bright,
Sparkling with the stars of night,
And my ship’s path be ablaze
With the light of halcyon days,

Still I know my need of Thee;
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.
When the darkling heavens frown,
And the wrathful winds come down,

And the fierce waves,
tossed on high,
Lash themselves against the sky,
Jesus, Savior, pilot me,
Over life’s tempestuous sea.

As a mother stills her child,
Thou canst hush the ocean wild;
Boisterous waves obey Thy will,
When Thou sayest to them, “Be still!”

Wondrous Sovereign of the sea,
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.
When at last I near the shore,
And the fearful breakers roar

’Twixt me and the peaceful rest,
Then, while leaning on Thy breast,
May I hear Thee say to me,
“Fear not, I will pilot thee.”


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What Jesus Promised

And be sure of this:
I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
-- Parting Promise of Jesus recorded in Matthew 28:20b

Yesterday, a dear brother and I exchanged e-mails. He wrote to say he has been struggling lately with hard issues in life. I sent Him this song. I am sure it encouraged Him and pray it will encourage you.

Click here: Pam Thum - Life Is Hard.mpg - YouTube

Life is Hard, But God is Good!

Monday, April 23, 2012

To Be Remembered...

I don't have to be remembered by anyone (except Jesus)...
-- Prayer by Pastor Steve Parker

Jesus, remember me...
-- Prayer by Criminal Crucified alongside Jesus

Thank you, Lord. In Isaiah 49:15 You said, I will not forget you.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Parents Becoming Friends of Their Children

Can fathers and mothers become friends of their children? Many children leave their parents to find freedom and independence and return to them only occasionally. When they return they often feel like children again and therefore do not want to stay long.

Many parents worry about children's well-being after they have left home. When their children visit they want to be caring parents again.But a mother can also become the daughter of her daughter and a father the son of his son. A mother can become the daughter of her son and a father the son of his daughter. Father and mother become brother and sister of their own children, and they all can become friends. It doesn't happen often, but when it does happen it is as beautiful to watch as the dawn of a new day.
-- Henri Nouwen

Lord, help me as a Dad to see my grown son and daughter as a brother and a sister.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ancient Words

Every Scripture passage is inspired by God. All of them are useful for teaching, pointing out errors, correcting people, and training them for a life that has God’s approval.
-- 2 Timothy 3:16 (GWT)
Thy Word is a Lamp Unto My Feet...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bring Glory to God

Jesus Christ will fill your lives with everything that God’s approval produces. Your lives will then bring glory and praise to God.
-- Phillipians 1:11 (GWT)

Click here: In My Life, Lord, Be Glorified - YouTube

In my life Lord, be glorified today.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Abandon Defined

The title of the most rivoting biography I have ever read is "Abandoned to God." It is the life story of Rev. Oswald Chambers, known most widely as the man behind the great daily devotional classic, "My Utmost for His Highest."

After reading the biography about Oswald Chambers, written by David McCasland, one should ask this simple but profound question: "Am I abandoned to God?"

Definition of ABANDON
transitive verb

Abandon? to give up to the control or influence of another person or agent. b: to give up with the intent of never again claiming a right or interest in. c; to give (oneself) over unrestrainedly.

Lord, I give up my right to myself over to You unrestrainedly.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Going Home

Yes, it really is 2:51 a.m. as I write this particular blog post. I just returned home a while ago after being with a dear husband whose wife passed away tonight. After fifty years of marriage, he had to watch the funeral director roll the body of his beloved sweetheart out the front door of their home never to return again. Indeed, it is heart-wrenching to witness.

Before I left, I was honored to pray a prayer of comfort and assurance with the family and friends gathered to begin their grieving process. The precious wife and mother was trusting the Lord for Eternal Life, so gladness was mingled beautifully with their grief. Actually, the husband said, "Don't take me wrong, pastor, but I am actually relieved that her suffering is over." It was a clear declaration of his true compassion for his beloved.

While we have not yet entered the details of the home-going celebration service, the husband did say what song must be sung. Yes, that old hymn of the church titled "Going Home." It was his wife's favorite.

Take a listen to the song posted below and as you do breathe a prayer for my dear friends as they await reunion in Heaven.

We do not grieve as those who have no hope. -- 1 Thess. 4:13

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Beyond Death

In my Bible reading and reflection this week, there has been one verse that has given comfort and peace to my heart in an incredible way. It never ceases to amaze me how the Word of God, even in small doses can settle my soul so completely.

Here's the verse:

This God is our God forever and ever. He will lead us beyond death.
-- Psalm 48:14 (GWT)

Click here: "Word of God Speak" by MercyMe

Lead on O King Eternal!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Praise Becomes Hope

Praise becomes hope.
-- Dan Lee

While studying Psalm 105 and 106 in our life group, our friend, Dan, basically said "when we praise our good God it ends up bringing hope into our own souls."

When Jesus stood outside the tomb of His recently deceased friend, Lazarus, He first praised His Father by saying, "Father, I thank You (I praise You) that You have heard my prayer." Then Jesus called out, "Lazarus, come forth!" Surely, our Lord taught us in this miracle of resurrection that praising leads to a raising! (John 11:42)

The praise of Jesus to His Father outside the tomb in Bethany sure sounds a lot like an echo of the Psalmist's prayer recorded in Psalm 118:21 (GWT) -- I give thanks to you, because you have answered me.

Click here: MercyMe - Lord I lift your name on high

Lord, we lift Your name on high. Lord, we love to sing Your praises!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sin is...

Sin is … the unwillingness of man to acknowledge his creatureliness and dependence upon God and his effort to make his own life independent and secure.
- Reinhold Niebuhr, The Nature and Destiny of Man

Blessed are the poor in spirit...
-- Jesus of Nazareth

Saturday, April 14, 2012

My Future is...

There is such a comforting prayer of assurance that the Psalmist teaches us to pray to our God in Psalm 31:15. The prayer reminds us that God has already been into our future and He will now surely safely lead us there. Let's pray the six-word prayer now with the Psalmist:

My future is in Your hands.
-- Psalm 31:15a (GWT)

Click here: My Life Is In Your Hands/Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir/YouTube

Weeping may last for the night, but there is a song of joy in the morning. -- Psalm 30:5b (GWT)

Blessed Assurance, Indeed!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Easter Afterglow: Encouraged in a Cemetery

In the afterglow of Resurrection Sunday I was able to take a few days away from my normal routine for personal reflection and solitude. My wife and I traveled back to the coast to be with our parents for a short stay in our native North Carolina homeland.

While there I visited the burial site of my Granny Margery and Granddaddy Gray. Though I have made many trips to the humble island cemetery, I had not really recognized clearly a Scripture verse at the very bottom of Granny and Granddaddy's shared headstone. I knelt on the ground to read it clearly. As I was there on my knees my heart was strangely warmed. Yes, I was wonderfully encouraged in a cemetery by the words of Jesus, maybe sort of like Mary of Magdala was. (Well, at least Mary of Magdala and Kerry of Carolina were both in a cemetery and Mary of Magdala and Kerry of Carolina were both experiencing the afterglow of The Resurrection of The Lord Jesus.)

Anyway, the Scripture engraved on my grandparents' gravestone is a sentence spoken by Jesus when He came to Bethany just before resurrecting His friend, Lazarus:

And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.
-- Words of Jesus in John 11:26a (KJV)

Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.
-- Words of Jesus in John 11:26a (GWT)

Click here: Margaret Becker - Say the Name - YouTube

John 20:11-18 may offer extra encouragement for your heart today.

Say The Name! JESUS! Because of Him death is defeated!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Where is The Physical Jesus Right Now?

Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
-- Romans 8:34 (NLT)

Lord, it amazes me to think that ever since You ascended back to the Father, You have been sitting at His right hand interceding, praying, yes, pleading for us. And I believe that You are still there right now, yes, physically sitting yet spiritually standing in the gap for us. No wonder we call You Wonderful! Amen and Amen.

Someone named Wonderful is praying nonstop for you and for me.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why Obey?

Obedience puts us on the path to God's blessings. Disobedience opens the door to the enemy. The choice is ours to obey or disobey, but the consequences come with our choices. In our choice to obey let us begin with His command to love each other. It is not an option. When we fail to love each other we disobey and that opens the door to all kinds of trouble. The command to love is at the top of the list. Let's keep it there. -- James Spruill

Words of Jesus in John 15:12 -- "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."

Trust and Obey!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Calvary Reflections

Jesus faced our dark Hell,
so we could follow His Light... Home!

He bore our Sin...
so we could breathe His Holiness.

He endured our death...
so we could inherit His Life.

He became our whipping boy once and for all...
so we could be children of His Father once again.

He was so very Faithful...
so we should be so very...


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Not A Lie! Not a Myth! But A Living Mystery!

Lord God Almighty:
You are not a lie!
You are not a myth!
You are a Living Mystery! So Marvelous to me!

I especially remember Your thirst on the Cross,
Your sacrificial death, Your beautiful burial,
Your triumphant victory over death and hell.
Your tomb is empty so our lives don't have to be.

Words of Jesus in Revelation 1:18

Today, Lord Jesus, I know You are my Purpose, my Peace, my Power.
And I am forever...
...Grateful (Click YouTube Below)

Click here: That Was Three Days Ago - YouTube

Saturday, April 7, 2012

They Took Him Down

Click here: They Took Him Down/The Witness/A Recitation

They took Him down, His poor, dead body.
They took Him down, His poor, pale body,
drained of life, ashen and stained
with its own life's blood.

His healing hands now pierced and still.
Serving hands that broke five loaves to feed five thousand,
Holy hands, often folded in fervent prayer,
Poor, gentle hands, now pierced and still.

His poor, torn feet, now bloodied and cold.
Feet that walked weary miles to bring Good News to broken hearts,
Feet once washed in penitent's tears,
Poor, torn feet, now bloodied and cold.

His Kingly Head made for a crown,
Now crowned with thorns.
His poor Kingly Head crowned with thorns..

His gentle chest, now pierced by spear thrust, quiet, still...
His poor loving chest.

His piercing eyes, now dark and blind.
Eyes of compassion, warming the soul.
Fiery eyes, burning at sin.
Tender eyes, beckoning sinners.
His piercing eyes, now dark and blind.

His matchless voice, fountain of The Father's thoughts.
Stopped. Stilled. To speak no more. Silence now..............

Where once had flowed wisdom and comfort, Spirit and life,
His matchless voice, stilled to speak no more.

They took Him down, His poor dead body,
And prepared Him for His burial.

Sunday's Coming... (See note below)

Note: Today's blog is posted for the glory of Jesus Christ and in honor of Thomas Kinkade, "The Painter of Light", who passed away yesterday, yes on Good Friday, at age 54 in his home in San Francisco. Though reports hint that the painter ran into some darkness towards the end of life, his paintings still blessed many people with a near-heavenly light. We entrust his soul to the Creator of Light.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday Morning. Amazing Love, Indeed!

It's Good Friday. No other day on the calendar evokes such pain in my heart. Last evening as I looked up at the full moon, I remembered the betrayal and arrest of my Lord in the olive grove called Gethsemane. Imagine the unfolding scenes if you will. In my mind and based on the Bible narrative and my nine trips to The Holy Land, this is what I see happening:

All alone, like a lamb headed to the slaughter, Jesus was marched down the foothills of the Mount of Olives, through the Kidron Valley and up the steps just south of the Jerusalem Temple to the house of Caiaphas, the religious high priest. A mock trial began. False witnesses spoke. Jesus confessed that, "Yes, He was indeed the Son of God." He was charged with dishonoring Almighty God -- Blasphemy! He was mocked, beaten, slapped, and spit on. Finally, in the dark, early morning hours of Good Friday, Jesus was bound and thrown into a dark, damp, holding pit -- an old cistern. It would be His prison until daylight. (Read Note and Psalm 88 at bottom.)

As morning began, Jesus was pulled from the pit and led to the Governor's quarters. Once there Pilate was summoned. Though he found Jesus "not guilty", Pilate ordered that Jesus be severely beaten by the soldiers in hopes of satisfying the mob. But their thirst for blood would not be quenched. The customary freeing of one prisoner was carried out. They cheered for Barabbas, a real, violent criminal, to be released. They wanted Jesus of Nazareth nailed to a cross. Pilate sent Jesus to King Herod in hopes of getting God's Son off of his own hands. Herod took a little time to poke fun at The Miracle-working Messiah but quickly sent Him back where He came from.

The mob began to threaten the Governor with treason. His reputation was at stake. Still his wife warned, "Have nothing to do with this man, Jesus." He asked Jesus, "Don't you know who I am. That I have power to free you or to crucify you?" Jesus replied, "You would have no power over me, unless it had been given to you from above." Feeling forced to make a decision, with the vicious shouts of "Crucify Him!" ringing in his ears and the very Darling of Heaven staring Him in the face-and-eyes, Pilate turned his attention away from his prisoner and back to the people. Down with the gavel, he finally sentenced The King of Kings to be executed by crucifixion.

And so, it was very early on Good Friday morning, when Jesus, The Lamb of God's own choosing, turned His Holy face towards Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, to be forsaken so we could be forgiven. Amazing Love, Indeed!

“Look! This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"
-- John the Baptist words about his cousin, Jesus John 1:29 (GWT)

Click here: You Are my King/Amazing Love Chris Tomlin - YouTube

No wonder we call Him our Wonderful Savior!
Grateful (Psalm 88 posted below)

Note: Psalm 88 is thought to be the prophecy of Jesus' prayers to The Father as He spent the night alone in the dark pit beneath the house of the high priest just hours before He was crucified:

(1) O Lord God, my savior, I cry out to you during the day and at night. (2) Let my prayer come into your presence. Turn your ear to hear my cries. (3) My soul is filled with troubles, and my life comes closer to the grave. (4) I am numbered with those who go into the pit. I am like a man without any strength — (5) abandoned with the dead, like those who have been killed and lie in graves, like those whom you no longer remember, who are cut off from your power. (6) You have put me in the bottom of the pit—in deep, dark places. (7) Your rage lies heavily on me.You make all your waves pound on me. Selah
(8) You have taken my friends far away from me.You made me disgusting to them. I’m shut in, and I can’t get out. (9) My eyes grow weak because of my suffering. All day long I call out to you, O Lord. I stretch out my hands to you in prayer. (10) Will you perform miracles for those who are dead? Will the spirits of the dead rise and give thanks to you? Selah
(11) Will anyone tell about your mercy in Sheol or about your faithfulness in Abaddon? (12) Will anyone know about your miracles in that dark place or about your righteousness in the place where forgotten people live? (13) I cry out to you for help, O Lord, and in the morning my prayer will come into your presence. (14) Why do you reject my soul, O Lord? Why do you hide your face from me? (15) Ever since I was young, I have been suffering and near death.
I have endured your terrors, and now I am in despair. (16) Your burning anger has swept over me. Your terrors have destroyed me. (17) They swirl around me all day long like water. They surround me on all sides. (18) You have taken my loved ones and friends far away from me. Darkness is my only friend!
-- Psalm 88 (GWT)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Seven Don'ts

E. Stanley Jones gave this list of “Seven Don’ts” for believers to consider in the time of trouble:

1. Don’t think your case is unique. It can be matched many times over.
2. Don’t give yourself to self-pity. A self-pitying self is a pitiful self.
3. Don’t give yourself to excessive grief, thinking it shows love.
4. Don’t retell your sorrows; doing so only makes them grow.
5. Don’t resign yourself to sorrow, thinking it will continue.
6. Don’t complain; complaining only multiplies complaints as a habit.
7. Don’t forget that there is a God in heaven who has promised to deliver us.

Need extra reinforcement today? Read Psalm 91.

God is Faithful! We are...
... Grateful

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What A Wonderful Reminder

This morning I received a message from a precious lady in our church reminding me that today is the fourth anniversary of her baptism. What a wonderful reminder from a precious daughter of God and what a wonderful way to begin the day. She also sent in her message two powerful verses from God's Word:

Jesus said, “The time has come, and the kingdom of God is near. Change the way you think and act, and believe the Good News.”
-- Mark 1:15 (GWT)

(16) I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper Who will be with you forever. (17) That Helper is the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it doesn’t see or know Him. You know Him, because He lives with you and will be in you.
-- John 14:16-17 (GWT)

Holiness Unto The LORD!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

You Will Find God will find Him whenever you search for Him with all your heart and with all your soul.
-- Deuteronomy 4:29b (GWT)

Click here: Kari Jobe - The More I Seek You w/lyrics - YouTube

Lord, as we seek You, we are certain we will find You.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Is Your Soul Discouraged? Remember God!

This morning one of the first prayers from the depths of my soul to God was, "Lord, I thirst for You!" How amazing when in my Bible reading, I came immediately upon Psalm 42. (I love when that happens.)

Read on and see if Psalm 42 from God's Word Translation helps you today as it has helped me.

(1) As a deer longs for flowing streams,
so my soul longs for You, O God.
(2) My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When may I come to see God’s face?
(3) My tears are my food day and night.
People ask me all day long, “Where is your God?”
(4) I will remember these things as I pour out my soul:
how I used to walk with the crowd
and lead it in a procession to God’s house.
I sang songs of joy and thanksgiving
while crowds of people celebrated a festival.
(5) Why are you discouraged, my soul?
Why are you so restless?
Put your hope in God,
because I will still praise Him.
He is my Savior and my God.
(6) My soul is discouraged.
That is why I will remember You
in the land of Jordan, on the peaks of Hermon, on Mount Mizar.
(7) One deep sea calls to another at the roar of Your waterspouts.
All the whitecaps on Your waves have swept over me.
(8) The Lord commands His mercy during the day,
and at night His song is with me —
a prayer to the God of my life.
(9) I will ask God, my Rock,
“Why have You forgotten me?
Why must I walk around in mourning
while the enemy oppresses me?”
(10) With a shattering blow to my bones,
my enemies taunt me.
They ask me all day long, “Where is your God?”
(11) Why are you discouraged, my soul?
Why are you so restless?
Put your hope in God,
because I will still praise Him.
He is my Savior and my God.

"I Will Not Forget You!" -- God's Promise in Isaiah 49:14-16

Let's Remember God!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Jesus Wants To Be Our Hero. No Fooling.

This Palm Sunday morning (also April Fool's Day in the USA) I preached on the seven sayings Jesus spoke while nailed to the Cross of Calvary. The message touched my own heart with deep-water emotion as I shared it with the congregation, especially when I repeated the fifth saying of Jesus on the Cross -- these two words -- "I thirst!" It had never before touched me as deep as it did this morning. Feeling abandoned by His Father, in complete vulnerability, almost like a little boy who was lost in the dark night of His soul, Jesus cried out, "I thirst."

When I arrived at home, one of my partners in Ministry, Pastor Joseph, our Worship Pastor sent me this e-mail message with a very touching song to listen to:

Subject: Great song that just caps off the day...
I heard this song on the way home from church.
Thought you’d like this.
-- Joseph

Jesus Paid It All. He Wants to Be Our Hero. No Fooling.