Welcome to my page of occassional daily thoughts!
My prayer is that these thoughts will challenge you in your daily walk with Christ. – Pastor James
 
January 4, 2021
 

TODAY’S THOUGHT:

Friends! We all claim to have friends, ….. but how many understand what a friend really looks like? Are friends the followers that we have on our social media accounts? Are friends our co-workers or schoolmates? Are friends the people that we attend church with regularly? The answer is Yes, No and Maybe!!

I believe that for most people, we are left to determine the difference between a friend, a close acquaintance and those that we simply meet during our life. All three are often defined as a friend oftentimes,…… and in that arises my question: What does a friend really look like?

I believe that Solomon tried to reveal this truth to his son. Listen to his words:

Proverbs 18:24A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

I heard a video recently that has stuck with me about friendship. It was here that I was introduced to a thought: Friends are often like trees!For some, this might sound absurd, but listen closely to the truth in what I am about to share.

Some of the people that we call friends are like the leaves on a tree. They are only there for a season of life. When the seasons begin to change, they fall off and quickly are blown out of our life. They were there for a season…perhaps a season when we needed them desperately, but the question to consider is does that season really make them a friend. Yes, they may have provided shade from the heat that we were exposed to during that season, but once they had help us through that season, they were gone. I contend that people like this were blessings that God sent our way during a time when He knew what we needed most. It was Jesus who was sticking close to our sides, even when we did not see Him. It was Jesus who was the friend who sent relief.

Other people are like branches. When we climbed these trees, we learned lessons the hard way. Theses were the friends that would say, “you can depend on me. I will always be there for you!”. Yet, as we were enduring the struggles of life, and as we step out by faith and begin to place the weight of what we were going through, we found out what it feels like to land hard when the branch broke and these friends were not where around. The cracking and popping sound of the branch breaking from the tree might have come from the failure of someone who promised the stand with us. The popping might have come from a betrayed confidence in things shared only to hear the gossip spreading around the forest of what you have given in the confines of friendship. Perhaps, the cracking and popping was the sound you heard when they simply removed themselves without an real explanation of “why?” And in those moments when we were hurting….and the pain was coursing through our bodies…we failed to realize that there was a branch who could support us. He was with us the entire time as we were placing our faith in the wrong branches.

Isaiah 11:1There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.

And yet once again, we find ourselves asking:  “ What does a friend really look like?”

A friend can be found NOT in the tree, but in the roots of the tree. You see, the tree itself may snap under the weight of the storms. It may get battered and bruised in during the rough seasons of life. But the strength of the tree is always found in the roots. If you were to take a look at a massive oak that was damaged during the storms…..and if you look closely at the ground, the roots are still there. Oftentimes, the roots are still alive and trying to give life back to that old stump.

Real Friends are like these roots……and while we may not see them all the time, and they are very few relative to the size of the tree…..they are there to give us life when we need it most. The truth is, for most people we may only have a handful of true friends in this life.

Yet, there is a very important lesson here for each of us……something that I do not want you to miss. One of these friends…..needs to be the main root. He is the one wanting to be at the center of our life. He is the One that offers to us “new life”….especially when we find ourselves destroyed from living in this rugged sin-filled world. That friend is……Jesus Christ. He is the One who has walked with us every step of the way…..was their to send the blessings when we needed them……and was the One to extend a hand of friendship when our bodies were riddled with pain from the broken branches. And isn’t it amazing that His Word….tells us….that He….is like a tree?

Genesis 2:9 And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

That tree of knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden was what revealed to us our need for life……and that tree of life, I believe was the friend, who offers to us…..new life! That friend, that tree…. IS Jesus!

So consider this….how many “friends” have you had in life that have fallen off and blown away during your life? You might have been glad that God gave you that blessing when you needed them most. How many “friends” broke on you when you wanted their support and left you hurting? Were you able to see that Jesus was the One offering to pick you back up? And how many “friends” have the roots capable of helping to bring life back into your body once you reach the end of this life? Only One! JESUS……and I am glad that He is more than just my friend! I hope you can say the same.

Something worth considering……..

 
 
 
November 4th, 2020
 
Today’s Thought:
Our nation is the most divided that I have witnessed in my lifetime. The media tries to proclaim reasoning behind the division…..but not once have I heard it mentioned that the Bible declares that the devil is the one behind this confusion and division.
Here is what I know….when everything is tallied up for president…half this country will rejoice and the other half will be ready to wage war. Yet the Word of God reminds us who ultimately is the decision maker:
 
And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding.
Daniel 2:21
 
Regardless of who wins and even if we disagree with their beliefs and policies, we are encouraged to pray for our leaders. As a believer, I believe God is in control and everything has a purpose. I also believe that His return is closer than we are anticipating, and rather than allowing ourselves in getting tied up in all of this confusion….let’s look to the author and finisher of our faith for direction!
 
Something to consider…..
 
 
June 24th, 2020
 
I believe that we could accurately say that the society we live in today do not like rules. They do not like laws that they are asked to abide by. As we watch the division that is currently gripping America, should we not stop and consider which laws are needed now more than ever?
 
God knew that in our sinful state, that we “needed” laws to live by. The Old Testament is filled with laws that men constantly failed in fulfilling. And God wanted to simplify these laws to a number that men should be able to follow. So He wrote down 10 laws – 10 commandments – on stone tablets and he gave them to Moses to give to the people. And still they (and we today) struggle to keep these ten! But what if we could simplify these 10 even further? 
 
I believe that most of the issues in this country and around the world could be fixed, if we could only learn to keep TWO laws! That is correct……We only need to keep TWO! And Jesus Himself was the one who suggested that we do such a thing:
 
Mark 12:29-31 (NKJV) 29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
 
Imagine how much different our country would be currently…..if we loved the Lord first……and then we loved others as we do ourselves. Violence would end! Police interactions should cease. Racial division would be non-existent. Crime would dissipate. I truly believe that there would be so much positivity that would come into our lives…..if “we” could only keep these two laws; these two commandments.  LOVE THE LORD! LOVE OTHERS! 
 
I believe that one day I shall see this come to pass. It will happen when Christ returns and He establishes His rule and kingdom on this earth. Until then, the best I can hope for is the good in others will prevail……and the best I can pray for is His soon return! 
 
 
 
 
June 3rd, 2020
 
“I Love You!” ……….such a simple statement, yet how many really understand what that means. Sure, we have all experienced puppy love. Many understand the love we have for a friend (Phileo in the Greek). Some have experienced the love that we have for our spouses (Eros in the Greek). But how many of us understand what it is to love like Jesus loved? (Agape) 
 
We look at people and we tell them that we love them……but do we really love them with an agape love? A love that transcends all issues. A love that forgets the past pains. A love that comes from our the depth of our souls. 
 
1 John 4:7-11  (NKJV)  –  Knowing God Through Love
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
 
Many of us have told others that we love them……only to allow them to walk away or for us to walk away from them. Many have left the church that the once loved over minor issues. Many have walked away from Christ after once proclaiming their love. But to what degree was our love? Was it just a Phileo (Brotherly love) perhaps. God is calling His children to have an agape love. One that resembles the love that Christ had for us while on the cross. One that forgives the sins of others. One that is willing to say “I messed up” and need your forgiveness.  You cannot tell people, the church, or even Christ that “You love them” ……. if you walk away from them. Christ never left us. In fact, He left Heaven for us! So the question you must answer is this: Are you sure what it means to say “I love you!”
 
 
 
4/1/20
Today’s Thought:

How strong is your prayer life? How committed are you to prayer for answers?…especially considering that our nation is looking for relief and answers in these uncertain times.

As I am reading through the book of Daniel for my current Seminary class, I found it challenging that Daniel was committed to prayer even when he knew the outcome of praying could be his own death. King Darius had signed into law that anyone petitioning their gods over a thirty day period would be put to death by the cruelty of hungry lions. Even in knowing the outcome…notice how Daniel responded:
 
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.
Daniel 6:10 (NKJV)

Many today are worried about things we cannot control….as was the case with Daniel. He had no control over the law that was made….but he took control over what was controllable in his life. How he responded was in his control…and Daniel choose to respond in faith through prayer multiple times that day.

As Christians, we say we believe in prayer….but how are we controlling what is controllable on our part? Can we control this virus? NO! ….Can we control the economy? NO! …….Can we affect the outcome? YES! YES! YES! …..Committed Christians can affect the outcome with God’s help….and that starts with the power found in committed prayer. Daniel continued in his committed prayer life….and notice the outcome: The mouth of the hungry lions were closed by the faithfulness of Daniels committed God. Imagine how quickly this virus could come to an end….if God’s children were as committed to prayer as Daniel was in his day! Imagine how quickly the economy could rebound if we employed what we claim to believe.

When faced with an uncertain outcome…Daniel did not run in fear…he fell to his knees in faith. Perhaps rather than praying for the end of a deadly virus….what we need more than this…is to ask God to help us have a committed life of prayer and dedication to “our God” that has the ability to unleashes His power and protection for the whole world to see.

Something to consider……
 
 
3/30/20
Today’s Thought:……...Was reminded of this truth during my quiet time this morning:

I have read many social media post in the past two weeks about the churches inability to meet and worship. This is a lie that the devil is using folks! Notice what Paul told the Corinthians:

For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. I Corinthians 3:9

Do you want to know who the church is? It is the people! Paul teaches that “you (we) are the building”. We are the church! Therefore it is an impossibility for the church NOT to meet…unless you chose to NOT do so.
 
STAY WITH ME HERE: While it is true that we cannot meet “together” currently….the church CAN and SHOULD meet with the Lord daily! Are you taking time to “spiritually isolate yourself” each day and worship God so that He can provide you peace you need in these uncertain times?

Think about it! If we are indeed the church…then consider “Who” is abiding in our tabernacle.

Something to consider……