Blessed Be the God

Ephesians 1:3-5 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
 
We are told that as we pray each day, we should give thanks to God. But, what should we be giving thanks for? Some give thanks for the events that have occurred in their lives that were positive and beneficial. Some give thanks in advance for prayers that they are trusting the Lord will answer. Some even give thanks to the Lord when trials and problems arise. All are correct and all are appropriate, but what should we first give thanks for?
 
In today’s passage, Paul reminds us that we should first and always give thanks to “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ”. Regardless of what is happening in our lives, we can and should always give thanks for all of the spiritual blessings that we receive through Jesus Christ, “that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love  He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself,”. 
 
I pray for blessings today for you on your Journey!

Test Yourself

2 Corinthians 13:5 – Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?
Take time today to “examine yourselves“. Are you where the Lord wants you to be in your walk and relationship with Him? May today be the beginning of something new and amazing in your relationship with Jesus!
I pray for blessings today for you on your Journey!

The Purity of Christ

2 Corinthians 11:3 – But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
I worry that we as a society, Christians and churches have taken God’s Word and changed it into something it was not meant to be. More and more, we have altered the Bible to fit our lives, as opposed to altering our lives to fit the Bible. Those that stand for God’s true Word are criticized, ridiculed and mocked by society for their beliefs. It is ironic, those in society that “preach” free speech and acceptance will only support the speech and ideas that they support, not necessarily the true Word of God.
In today’s passage, Paul warns us, “as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” God’s Word is simple. God’s Word is true. God’s Word is pure. My prayer for all of us today is that we will live today to honor God’s true Word as He intends, not as we want.
I pray for blessings today for you on your Journey!

So Also Are We

2 Corinthians 10:7 – You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, let him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we.
One of the greatest attributes of Paul, in my opinion, is his humbleness. In fact, Paul even mentions that of all of the Apostles, he is the least. Yes, Paul may have been humble, but I would argue that there was none that was more mighty. Paul recognized that he was a sinner like all and that he was saved only by the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, just like all. I believe that this is an important lesson that all Christians must remind themselves daily.
Paul tells us today, “If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, let him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we.” In other words, we are no better or different than anyone else. Too often, Christians are criticized for judging those around them. Paul reminds us that the same grace that is available to us is available to all. We must treat each other with this love, grace and mercy that the Lord has first showed us.
I pray for blessings today for you on your Journey!

Christmas Invitation

I heard a recent study that said 50% of Americans will not be attending a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day service. While that may be surprising, the next statistic they discussed was more shocking. Of the 50% that will not attend a service, 68% said they would if they were invited by a family member or friend.

I encourage all of you to invite those family members and friends to join you for the Christmas Eve or Christmas Day service at your church. It just might be the best and greatest gift they will receive this Christmas.

If you and your family do not have a local church where you worship, I would like to personally invite you to join us at Journey of Faith for our Christmas Eve worship service where we will learn that the Peace on Earth that was given to us that first Christmas is still available to us today. Our service will begin at 5:00 PM and will conclude with a candlelight ceremony. Journey of Faith is located at 135 N. Valley Center, Glendora, 91741.

May God bless you and your family this Christmas. May we all recognize and celebrate Christmas as God intended. From myself, my family and the entire Journey of Faith family, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

The Grace of God

Titus 2:11-12 – 11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
 
Recently, I read of a tragic story of a mom and son driving on the 57 freeway when a piece of metal came through the front windshield stricking the 17 year-old son in the neck and face. Because of his injuries, this young man died several days later. His name was Ethan Hawk. I was blessed to have met Ethan 1 year earlier as his high school football team was playing the team I coached. It was during that game that Ethan suffered a significant leg injury that required surgery. A few days after his leg injury, I went and visited Ethan in the hospital. I was struck by his positive attitude and the joy he had. No, he did not complain or say that it was unfair. He was smiling, laughing and telling me that the next year he would be back and his team would beat us. True to his word, Ethan did make it back and started every game this past year for his team and, yes, they did beat my former team.
I was personally struck by the tragedy, pain and suffering that this young man and his family endured the last 18 months of his life. Yet, through all of the tragedy, his joy remained because his parents had taught him about Jesus and because of their guidance, Ethan had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In just a few days, we will celebrate Christmas, “11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,”. It was this grace that gave Ethan his salvation and it is in Ethan’s salvation that his parents can find peace. Jesus came to earth so that Ethan can now be in heaven. While this will be his families first Christmas without Ethan, they can take comfort in knowing that this is Ethan’s first Christmas with Jesus in Heaven. Let’s not get caught up in the “unimportant” that we lose sight of what is truly important in our life.
I pray for blessings today for you on your Journey!

The Art of Service

1 Corinthians 9:19 – 19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.
This year, we have been studying the Holy Spirit. Who He is, what He does and how we show Him in our lives. There are many ways that the Holy Spirit will manifest Himself in our lives. We have the fruit of the Spirit. We have the Gifts of the Spirit. We enter into deeper fellowship with fellow believers. And, we commit ourselves to a deeper, more meaningful level of service.
Paul tells us today, “I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.” A Spirit filled life is a “service filled” life. A life where we offer our skills, talents, and resources to the Lord to be used by Him, for Him. We do this with the understanding that what we give may never be returned to us in this lifetime, but will be repaid a hundred fold in Heaven. My prayer for you this Christmas is that you will take the fruit, gifts and talents that the Holy Spirit has given to you and use them so that you “may win more”.
 
I pray for blessings today for you on your Journey!

Run Your Race

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 – 24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
 
May you run your race today so that it is pleasing to the Lord.
I pray for blessings today for you on your Journey!

Bless the Little Children

Matthew 19:13-15  – 13 Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 After laying His hands on them, He departed from there.
 
If you are a parent, you understand the special blessing that children are to our lives. Recently, my family and I were all laying on our bed watching TV. As we laid there, I thought of how blessed I was to have these two amazing boys in my life. It is moments like this that we cherish for a lifetime.
I am also often reminded of the responsibility we as parents have towards our children. As Matthew tells us today, “14 But Jesus said, Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Children are a blessing to God and it is our responsibility as parents to not do anything that will hamper or prevent them from the relationship with God that God desires. We may only have them for a short period of time, but we must use that time wisely to train them up. Remember, “the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these“.
I pray for blessings today for you on your Journey!

 

To Be Complete

Matthew 19:21 – 21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
There is a famous line in the movie “Gerry McGuire” where Tom Cruise tells Rene Zellweger, “You complete me”. He was telling her this because he had just experienced a great success as a sports agent, yet without her, it meant nothing. He needed her in his life to be “complete”.
In today’s passage, Jesus tells a rich man to “sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” Some may use this passage to argue that Christians must be poor and can never be rich. That is not correct. The point of Jesus’ message to the rich young man is that he must give everything he is and has to Jesus. There is only one way we will ever be completed here on earth and that is through Jesus Christ. We are nothing without Jesus and any “success” we experience here on earth will be empty without Him. To be complete today, give everything you have and are to the service of Jesus Christ.
I pray for blessings today for you on your Journey!