Acts 10:1,2—There was a man in Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment. He was a devout man and feared God along with his whole household. He did many charitable deeds for the Jewish people and always prayed to God.
It should not surprise us that Cornelius was God’s choice to first bring the gospel to the Gentiles. When we study his profile, it is inspiring and gives us a clear picture of what right looks like and thus why he was favored in God’s eyes. Cornelius was:
They said they would do it, the task well defined
But then they turned left, then right, then behind.
They scorned those in power subverting their will
When sudden calamity finished their thrills.
So don’t hitch your wagon with those who rebel
Unless you would like your pain to excel.
Proverbs 24:21,22—My son, fear the LORD, as well as the king, and don’t associate with rebels, for destruction from them will come suddenly; who knows what distress these two can bring?
2 Corinthians 7:1—Therefore, dear friends, since we have such promises, let us cleanse ourselves from every impurity of the flesh and spirit, completing our sanctification in the fear of God.
How do you feel when you hear people swear—using God’s name in a fit of rage, frustration, or even just crass conversation? When you get angry are you guilty of swearing? If we are used to this and unbothered, then we have a problem. A healthy reverence for God should make us shudder or feel offended (for Him) when we hear His awesome name taken in vain. Truly revering the Lord creates a fire inside us to protect His reputation. It transforms how we view Him and, as a result, how we are viewed.
Psalm 34:9—You who are His holy ones, fear Yahweh, for those who fear Him lack nothing.
For all of my life I can honestly say I have lacked nothing. Yes, there have been times of deprivation, sickness, loss, pain, and frustration. Yet, always God’s presence, provision, and guidance have not just sufficed, but have made me strong to walk each day. And my story is just one of a countless number of His children who faithfully experience His assistance.
Ecclesiastes 12:13,14—When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is: fear God and keep His commands, because this is for all humanity. For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.
Psalm 111:2,3—The LORD’s works are great, studied by all who delight in them. All that He does is splendid and majestic; His righteousness endures forever.
Flattop (3,510 feet) is Alaska’s most frequently climbed mountain. Located just 13 miles from downtown Anchorage in Chugach State Park, the views from its summit are stunning. I was in Anchorage to meet with participants in an emergency exercise timed to coincide with the 50thyear anniversary of the 9.2 earthquake that hit Anchorage. After our meetings I left with the two officers who accompanied me to take pictures at a park site near the airport. While there we met Kendra, a local resident, who told us Flattop was the place to go to get the best views of the area. We assumed we were going to arrive at a place where we could take photos from our car so you can imagine our surprise when she led us from the parking lot to Glen Alps trailhead to walk 1.5 miles and climb 1280 feet! This would have been okay except that the trail was mostly mud and snow and near the top very icy and steep.
1 Samuel 12:23,24—As for me, I vow that I will not sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you. I will teach you the good and right way. Above all, fear the LORD and worship Him faithfully with all your heart, considering the great things He has done for you.
Ken shared with me a great thought from AF Trekker that I pass along to you. In Thailand, Christians say, “Fow Diow.”
It means to have a personal, private audience with the King. Thais have a great respect and understanding of living under a King who rules them in love but who is quite distant in life experience from them. Very few Thais ever see the King; much less have a private audience with him. Those who do come into his presence enter on their knees far below his high throne.
I can imagine what happened. She had lived there too long. Over time, she grew increasingly used to the sleaze to the point where the vices probably no longer shocked her. No doubt she and her friends gossiped about the bizarre and strange conduct of the city’s inhabitants. Perhaps she was close to the two men soon to marry her daughters. Even her husband hesitated—unsure about leaving. In the end when the persistent angels grabbed their hands and pulled the four of them outside the city warning them to run and not look back, she didn’t get far before she turned away just once to see what should not be seen. That turning away made her a pillar of salt. (Gen. 19)
At the beginning of each year I pick a theme to observe and mark in reading through the Bible. In 2010 the theme was wisdom along with the nineteen base words key to examining this topic: wise, teach, instruct, advise, know, learn, understand, counsel, reveal, discern, insight, intelligence, guide, sense, mature, inform, perceive, realize, and revelation.
When I was in Junior High School, Billy Graham came to Seoul, Korea. I was able to sit on a platform not far from where the speakers stood and take pictures. At the time (early 1970’s), it was the largest Billy Graham Crusade ever. Looking behind the platform there on Yoido Island there was an immense sea of people. Dr. Graham explained to this spiritually hungry audience the meaning of the gospel. He quoted John 3:16, read other Bible passages, and outlined in simple terms God’s plan of salvation. Hundreds of thousands of Koreans stood and moved forward when he gave an invitation. Countless faces were wet with tears of repentance. Perhaps heaven’s citizens stood and cheered as they watched this grand spectacle.
The difference between a strike and a split is but a matter of inches. If the bowling ball hits the center pocket correctly, all ten pins fall down. But if the ball veers just slightly off its intended course all kinds of crazy formations can appear to include the dreaded split where pins are left standing on opposite sides of the lane. I had my share of splits last night as the bowling ball just missed the strike zone!
When it comes to romance, maybe the wise thing for us to remember is that one day cannot offset 364 days. How we love the rest of the year speaks infinitely louder than the most creative gifts given on February 14.
I believe there are four keys to making a marriage prosper and endure and guys if we don’t get this, we are doomed to a lot of hardship. (Apologies to the unmarried and to gals, but this Reveration is for married men or those engaged to be married).
I was privileged recently to attend a gathering in San Antonio, Texas, of World War II veterans from the 104thTimberwolf Division. These venerable survivors gather each year to reminisce of war memories, catch up in recent events and celebrate each other along with any accompanying children affectionately known as “pups.”
Nine young men sat on the hardwood court as I read to them a short sport story and then gave two applications. They listened attentively to the lesson on courage. After sharing I handed them each a copy to put in their notebooks. The practice was over but one player lingered to read the story on his own. Another stood silent as his dad animatedly discussed the paper with him. One of the mothers came and commented on how much she appreciated the character lessons.
Recently, I met with a man whose marriage is tottering towards collapse. He feels alone and unwanted in his own household. His wife seems more devoted to his children than to him. He seemingly cannot do enough to please her and he is ready to give up. When I asked Him how his relationship with God was doing, he shared that it is anemic. He grew up without a loving father which has effected how he views, relates to and trusts his Heavenly Father. Therein lays the core issue.
Would you like to know the secret for living a successful life? The key is found in understanding and obeying the Bible’s Greatest Commandment given by God to Moses in Deuteronomy 6:5--“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Over 22 times in the Bible we are directly encouraged to love God. Loving God requires a wholehearted commitment in a half-hearted world. Aside from the obvious fact that God desires our love, I believe there are at least four excellent reasons why we should love Him.
I was standing on the sideline of a pick-up soccer game after subbing out so another player could reenter the game. It was a hot afternoon. My buddy, Dan, took his plastic water jug and poured it over my head. Unlike the unsuspecting football coach, doused with iced Gatorade after winning a cold winter game, this shower was reviving!
Have you ever engaged on a mission convinced you were doing the Lord’s will only to see your efforts defeated by some unforeseen event? Have you taken a job sure that it was God’s choice for you only to discover the boss was mean-spirited or the co-workers adept at making your life miserable? Have you lost a family member or experienced prolonged illness, convinced that God would bring healing and He didn’t? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions you probably have sincere issues to discuss with God regarding His will and timing.