The Big Question

2e52dd1d53Maybe it is time we define, “worship.” Maybe our self-made worship is more about us and our feelings than it is about drawing near to God and exalting and adoring the Lord God. Maybe we have turned our worship service into a self-serving manipulation of God turning the spotlight on my life rather than His glory. Maybe, just maybe, we need to define worship by going back to the Bible and seeing what God really desires.

When God created man it was for the dual purpose of fellowship and expression. Fellowship was the heartbeat of God for mankind to know and experience the love of God on an everyday basis. Expression was to manifest His glory upon them and within his creation; upon them for influence to reach for the souls of men and within them for personal hope and peace. When the glory of God illuminates upon a man He will influence others to righteous living. When the glory of God resides within a man, he will walk in integrity, transparency and peace.

When Adam and Eve sinned they lost fellowship and expression; they lost the everyday fellowship with a loving God and they lost the glory of God upon and within them. After their sin, God began earnestly looking for them and God asks the BIG QUESTION, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9). The first question God ever asked, and the most heart wrenching, the man and woman He created were gone; he sorrowfully asked, “Where are you?”

The BIG QUESTION needs to be asked today, “Where are you?” Are you living in everyday fellowship with a loving God and is the expression of His glory upon you and within you? God is looking for you, pursuing you so He might show His lavish love by everyday fellowship and supremely pour His glory upon and within you. He wants you to come to Him. He wants to be with you. “Where are you?”.

Let’s do a checkup. The following reveals the emptiness of living without the presence of God in our life:

 

  1. Frustration, anxieties and other emotional downfalls
  2. Provokes a man to live close on the edge of failure
  3. Friction at home escalates
  4. Financial pressures abound
  5. Emptiness creates larger vacuums
  6. Our heart becomes weary
  7. Complaining instead of worship flows from our mouth
  8. Our song, joy and dance is gone
  9. People problems become prevalent
  10. Life becomes complex and worrisome
  11. Fear is substituted for faith
  12. Weakness in our Spirit
  13. Job related problems increase
  14. We begin to withdraw from others
  15. Our attitude becomes obnoxious and defensive
  16. We cower from the presence of God
  17. The Word of God becomes boring
  18. Life is increasingly boring
  19. Depression and discouragement
  20. Loss of Hope

The good news is that one step in His direction and He will come running towards you. James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. The opportunity for more is within my grasp. Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. When you hunger for more, thirst for more, it is your initiative that brings God’s blessings. His glory is poured out upon a man who enlarges his capacity by total surrender of heart, mind, soul and body. The empty self gains the fullness of His glory. He is ever longing to speak to you, bless you, fill you, heal you, restore you and love you.

His presence is waiting for you now – He wants fellowship and to express His glory – to overflow you with His love and His glory.

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

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What I Know About Problems

Your problem may not be a problem

Your problem may seem bigger than it is

Your problem may not be your problem

Your problem may not take as long as you think it will

Your problem may add something to your life rather than subtract

Your problem may be a miracle in disguise

Everyone has problems

God cares about your problems

Life and Longevity

Life is not measured by its longevity but by its quality. John Boy Walton, of the popular Walton series TV Miniseries, quipped, “Life is not measured by birthdays but by memories.” Life has its up and downs. Life always has those moments when we question the unexpected loss of someone we held dear to us but God said He alone is the giver of life. God expresses the quality of life is based on the fear of God so life and death are in the hands of God. There are parts of life and much of death we don’t understand. In fact, we know very little of what the other side looks like.

The Bible tells us about the streets of gold, the Crystal Sea, gates of pearl, the throne of God but little about what life is like in the eternal heavens. Jesus tells us He has gone to prepare a mansion for us but doesn’t tell us why we need a mansion in heaven. Jesus tells us there is no marriage nor giving of marriage in heaven; yet we will be known as we are known. Yet there is much about life in heaven we don’t understand. We wonder – what really awaits us after death, we speculate, wish and hope.

But there is one scripture in the Holy Bible that helps me more than any other. In Hebrews 11:1 -2b Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; …..  These witnesses are not mourning their passing but are rather standing on the balcony of heaven but watching below those who are still running the race. Not tears but applause. Not sorrow but cheering; Cheering on those who are yet to cross the finish line; Applause for everyone to run well; Applauding our efforts as we move closer and closer to the finish line.

In the stillness, of the midnight. Precious sacred scenes unfold,*  tears run silently down our cheek, in the pain of loneliness grips our soul, we are compelled to listen, to listen carefully to the soft applause of our loved one; “run, run well; keep on running, cross the finish line with faith; we applaud you.”

So while we may not see them it is definitely clear that they can see us and they are cheering us on – yes, you can make it.

 

*Precious Memories, original lyrics, © 1966 by Stamps-Baxter Music & Printing Co. J. B. F. Wright, author-composer of “Precious Memories” (originally copyrighted in 1925)

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

 

It’s Up to You

It’s Up to You

Author – unknown

One song can spark a moment, One flower can wake the dream. One tree can start a forest, One bird can herald spring.
One smile begins a friendship, One handclasp lifts a soul. One star can guide a ship at sea, One word can frame the goal.
One vote can change a nation, One sunbeam lights a room. One candle wipes out darkness, One laugh will conquer gloom.
One step must start each journey, One word must start each prayer. One hope will raise our spirits, One touch can show you care.
One voice can speak with wisdom, One heart can know what’s true. One life can make the difference, You see, IT’S UP TO YOU!

Spiritual Growth Habits for 2014

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Every year thousands of Christians begin their spiritual journey by diving into a devotional, Bible reading plan and usually, the Daniel Fast. Intending to make the best and most profitable increase in our inner man we go to the bookstore in search for the item that looks the best. Before you start; begin by discovering some of the devotionals, Daniel Fast plans and Bible reading plans outlined below.

Making the best of things begins by starting the best of things.

My Utmost for His Highest. This timeless classic is available in several formats, as well as, printed. If you have the YouVersion App downloaded on your phone or tablet https://www.bible.com there are several Bible reading plans available. A new addition this year is My Utmost For His Highest This special edition of Oswald Chambers’ timeless, widely read devotionals now includes Chambers’ personal prayers. From Discovery House Publishers. 30 days Journey. You will receive a daily reminder – if you wish; plus you can post to Facebook or Twitter your unique discoveries. Or, if you would like to read, My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers on your computer just go to http://utmost.org for a year’s worth of devotional thoughts and uplifting insights. If you wish you can go to iTunes and download My Utmost for His Highest app for Android or IPhone for $4.99

Streams in the Desert. This classic poignant devotional comes in three volumes in written form; this treasure never ceases to speak to me. However, go to the iTunes store and get a free download for your tablet or phone http://download.cnet.com/Streams-in-the-Desert-Devotional/3000-20412_4-75246497.html It comes with a daily reminder, bookmark and ability to add notes.

7:14 Prayer. I am really enjoying the 7:14 Prayer app on my IPad but it also works on my IPhone. You can set your own prayer list, pray for preformatted guidelines for praying for your area schools, the nation and up to date news prayer requests. This amazing app has a live feed showing people praying around the nation and an appointment reminder to “pray today.” Available free on ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/7-14-prayer/id585072149?mt=8

The Daniel Fast Maybe you would like to add the Daniel Fast to your prayer habits during the month of January. The 21 day Daniel Fast basically shuns, sugar, flour, meats and focuses on vegetables, fruits and grains. This is a great way to begin healthy and concentrate in prayer. If you would like more information my wife and I always go to http://www.daniel-fast.com or there are several books available on the subject. And there is an app for that at https://itunes.apple.com/app/id598090882

Comment: Do you have a favorite devotional you are using?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

Engaged? What’s Missing?

The one thing missing from the engagement scene has been either overlooked or ignored.

The gathering of dating or courtship information is often overwhelming and sometimes confusing. Add engagement and the advice gets more intense.  Parents, pastors, teachers, friends and coaches give helpful, useful and insightful advice, in abundance. There is not a shortage to opinions, Tweets or advice.

But there is still one thing missing.

When my wife and I were dating and came to the serious discussions of marriage we both realized we were marrying for love, for life and for ministry. It was the last one, for ministry, that stopped us both long enough to weigh out the consequences of making a wrong decision; either marrying at the wrong time or worse; marrying the wrong person. Our ministry was at stake. Who we were and who we were to become was the bigger picture.

Upon mutual agreement, we separated temporarily, her going to be with some friends and me, staying in Texas, until we both heard from God and felt the peace of God. Like Isaac and Rebekah; we knew God had brought us together, now would God keep us together? During the many days that passed we prayed, fasted and listened to God. To better tune our ears into God’s will we both agreed not to have any communication between us during this time. Finally, on the same day we both felt the peace and when she called at 10:00 in the evening; I was ready to bring her back to Texas and begin planning the wedding day.

The one thing missing in many courtships and dating scenarios is the search for God’s blessing and

approval upon the marriage of two individuals who are in love with each other.

After 36 years we are happily married and enjoying the blessings of the Lord. While reading Proverbs recently I was alerted in my spirit about the numerous times God mentions a “wife” in the scriptures. It is a reminder to me of God’s involvement in our marriage.

Proverbs 5:18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. God’s word is clear that sex belongs within the moral boundaries of marriage and it is to be enjoyable. The blessing of children and grandchildren are God’s reminder of His faithfulness and a His promise for the future.

Proverbs 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD. Simply God is intrinsically involved in the process of finding a good wife and brings His favor into the marriage. It isn’t a coincidence Jesus performed His first miracle at a wedding – expressing His delight and approval on a Christian marriage.

Proverbs 19:14 House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD. While deceased mothers or fathers may leave an inheritance in their will – it is the cautious, careful and decisive wife which is a gift from God. God presents a man with a wife and crowns the marriage with His divine presence.

Comment: How do you pray for your marriage each day? What do you think is the most effective way to pray for your marriage?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

Raising Our Children to Be Spiritual Champions

Picture1Holding a newborn has always been a challenge, they are so fragile, but holding my newborn shook me to the very core. Even though that sacred moment occurred several years ago the imagery still captures my hearts, A father holding his own baby for the first time and thinking, “Now what?”

My children are grown and raising their own family but I remembering asking, “Now what?” on their first day of school, their teenage years, the moment they brought home someone they “had their eye on.” Contemplating my role as a father has been questioned, oh, not by others, but over and over in my own mind. I read books, I watched how other father’s did it and I even prayed about it, “Dear God, make me a good father.”

Raising children has never been easy and pointing fingers at other’s mistakes in our own self-righteous stance only sets us up for possible failure.

Several things are for sure about parenting:

  • Being a parent is not easy
  • You will make mistakes
  • When your children grow up, they will make their own mistakes.
  • We need God’s help

However, culture in its demoralized state unfortunately has been a chokepoint in the arena of child rearing. Building spiritually aware children and youth takes initiative, action and consistency. Perfectionism isn’t required but daily character reinforcement is required. What we do must be done intentionally and habitually.

Here are Six Habits in Raising Our Children as Spiritual Champions:

Pray Daily With Your Children – nothing, I repeat nothing, has the power to make your child a spiritual champion as prayer does. Praying in the morning with your children, before they leave for school, helps place the right spirit around them. Close the day with prayer and prayer requests, praying one for another.

Ask Questions – have moments of conversation and interaction with your children each day. Inquisitive and investigation are miles apart. Find out what is important to them. Talk about the hard things – friends, sex, dirty words, sexting, and pornography, coupled with God’s biblical design for a holy body, mind, spirit and life.

Involve Yourself In Their Life – What do they like to do? Can their friends come over your house for a pizza party? Take them, don’t just send them, to church camps, outings, and sport events, including hunting, camping and fishing.

Go On Word Adventures Together – Study a subject, theme or passage of scripture together. Make the Word of God exciting to your children. Welcome missionaries and other godly figures into your home. Share God’s Word with your children regularly when you camp together, go on a trip and regularly at night before bedtime.

Cleanse Your Home – Letting something get in their minds through illicit TV programs, vulgar music or movies may take months to root out. Make sure the internet is guarded and your children are warned of predators. Teach your children modesty and self-respect.

Love Them Unconditionally – tell them you love them, frequently and meaningfully. Go throughout the day with a positive word and a hug. Praise them for making a wise choice and doing the right thing.

 

Comment: What advice do you give to parents wanting to raise spiritual champions in their home.

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

My Daily Prayer Place

Early morning prayer can be a delight instead of a duty is you will simply follow these few simple steps to a close and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Everyone is busy, rushed, and tightly scheduled but amid the noise of a world of clamour there is a silence, a peace and a solace, God wishes to impart into every heart and mind. Some will spend five minutes but others will launch into an hour or more but to be productive and regular you may need to implement a few short steps.

Sometimes a husband and wife will spend some prayer time together but today I want to emphasize a private and personal time in prayer.

Journal Grab a journal or small notepad and record a Bible verse that stands out to you this morning or maybe a song. Scribble down your most pressing prayer requests or needs. Then, write down the answers to prayer or your praise. I started a prayer journal while in college and while not writing in it everyday – I have found time to make a few notes from time to time to help me focus on what is most important during my prayer time and what I should remember to praise Him for the answers already received.

Schedule Some people have been known to actually put GOD on their calendar at a specified time. Others, grab a cup of coffee, and head to their favorite spot in the morning, others like the quiet hours of the evening before bed for their personal quiet time with God. Whatever time you choose be sure and schedule it each day so you can have a set time that comes to mind.

Plan While praying go from praying for family to friends to your future. Pray God will illuminate your present steps and give you wisdom for your tomorrows. Repent, repair and revive as you press into the presence of God. Tell Jesus you love Him and let Him know you intensely desire to walk each day in a Christlike spirit. You may not need a plan but this way you won’t forget to pray for a friend that requested your prayers yesterday. Just simply jot down a few necessary items before going to prayer or building a list throughout the day to take with you to your prayer spot. Sometimes my prayers are scattered without a planned prayer list.

Practice You will always get better at the things you do the most. Prayer, like any other Christian discipline, takes practice to perfect. If you miss a day simply pick up the next day but you will notice an ease at coming to the prayer spot each day. You may want to begin your prayer time with a devotional to put your heart in a good frame of mind.

Place To have a private prayer place allows for you to quietly and quickly slip in and experience your meeting place with God each day. Make sure your private place is free from magazines, a stack of mail, your computer or other distractions. The bedroom, the living room, a back porch, your office, wherever it is, go to an undistracted place that says to you, this is my private place with God.

Comment: Do you have something you do in your private prayer time that is not mentioned above?

Copyright by Jim Laudell.  Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author.

Dear God, “I’m sorry”

People are suffocated from evil around us, covered with fear and mesmerized by sin but Jesus is setting people free. We have been hearing reports from across the nation and around the world of people coming to Jesus for forgiveness, receiving salvation and turning their lives around. Repentance is a heart issue not a church issue. Oh, don’t get me wrong – you will want to link up with other believers but merely going to church is not salvation. No, this is a heart issue, a believing in the heart, a cleansing in the heart and a receiving into the heart.

Why must I go to Jesus for forgiveness? Because only God is holy and you have sinned against God. Salvation is the benefit of a repentant heart. Turn to Jesus Christ with all your heart, know that He loves YOU, died for your sins on the cross and is willing to forgive you.

For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

2 Corinthians 7:11

Real repentance doesn’t occur because you are sorry you failed and you are disappointed in yourself, no, it is more than that. Real repentance is not fear from being caught and your sin laid out in the open, no, it is more than that. Real repentance is faith. Faith in knowing you are guilty but Jesus loves you; Jesus is willing to forgive you!

Admit your sin, your guilt, and your wrong in prayer to Jesus Christ.

Acknowledge He died on the cross for you and loves you. Jesus wants you to come to Him.

Ask Him to forgive you and come into your heart and He will if you ask sincerely and honestly.

Accept it all done and thank Jesus for salvation and His mercy. Praise is the path into God’s presence.

Accountability is the next great decision – join a group of Bible believing Christians and stick with your new life.

Comment: Did you pray and ask Jesus Christ to forgive you and come into your life?

Copyright by Jim Laudell.  Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author.

Confessions of a Father

The day after Father’s Day and back to work but not without some important changes. Several fathers admit there are some things they would like to change. They want to change their family future.

Most father’s admit they aren’t for sure what is expected of them and what they must do to accomplish being a “good” father. They support their family with a good work ethic, provide for the needs of the family and go to church but father’s are asking, “is something missing?”

Let’s look at what children really need from their father if we are to find adequate answers. It is true families need to be provided for but new shoes will never take the place of a father pitching the ball to his son madly swinging a bat in all the wrong directions.

Of all the requests that come from families for dad to do this or that – the most requested item is – “we just want Dad to be with us.”

“Dad time” is the most important item we can give to a child. Let’s look at some prime “dad time” ideas:

Being one to one with your child The highlight of a child’s week is when he is picked to go with dad. We must be fair to balance it out when there are more children but this “gift” of time with a child being one on one with Dad is one of the most important aspects of a child’s life.

Praying with your child Praying together makes our heart soft and grants a connection with a child, only God can give. When my children we young there were times I asked my son or daughter to forgive me for being angry, only to hear those innocence words come back, “I forgive you Dad.” Precious time is invested in a child when you are on your knees.

Love their mother Your children will find no greater security than when a Dad shows affection to their momma. A dad who expresses honor and affection to their children’s mother is a wise man.

Comment below: Do you have a “DAD TIME” moment you would like to share?

Copyrighted by Jim Laudell. Material contained in this post cannot be reproduced or copied without permission from the author.